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IS A I NT S
THOMAS J. STEELE, S.J
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation
The Religious Folk Art of Hispanic New Mexico
Thomas J. Steele, S.J
Ancient City Press
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Copyright © 1974, 1982, 1994 by the Regis Jesuit Community. All rights
reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying,
recording, or by any information retrieval system without permission in
writing from the publisher. For information address: Ancient City Press,
P.O. Box 5401, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502. Telephone (505) 982-8195.
International Standard Book Number
Library of Congress Catalog Number
Cover design by Connie Durand
Book design by Mary Powell
Cover illustration: El Santo Nino de Atocha (The Holy Child of Atocha, #7
in Appendix B) by Rafael Aragon (active 1820-62). This exemplary little
panel must be the happy outcome of Aragon's having painted the subject
many times. He won through to the total artistic control that gives the Ni
no his air of modest juvenile self-confidence. Aragon may have left his
fingerprint at the bottom left when the paint was still moist. The Regis
Holy Art, Holy Artist
Santo Space: Pre-Renaissance and Post-Renaissance
Holy Persons: God, Virgins, Angels, Saints
Old Saints in a New Land
The Mirrors of the Holy Persons
Saints and Prayer
A Chronological List of Santeros
A List of Saints
Calendar of New Mexican Saints
Santos and Saints is a new book, though the title has been around
for exactly twenty years. Calvin Horn published Santos and Saints:
Essays and Handbook in 1974, and in 1982 Ancient City Press issued
a paperback second edition, newly subtitled The Religious Folk Art
of Hispanic New Mexico, with an updated preface and a few necessary
revisions. For this present version, I have dropped the chapter on
land grants, rearranged the remaining chapters, totally rewritten
everything, updated all the content (perhaps most noticeably in a
few of the appendices), and added numerous references to most
of the many works of excellent scholarship that have appeared in
the last score of years. Consequently, this truly is a new book.
I commented in a prefatory note to the original edition that the
New Mexican Hispanic culture of the mid-nineteenth century had
been so unified that studying any part of it gave access to the whole.
I hoped therefore that my study of the santos would significantly
illuminate the life of the people by and for whom they were made,
especially by highlighting the social and cultural implications of this
popular religious art. I have the same hope for this new edition.
There is an old saying about persons of a later age seeing more
than their predecessors because they are standing on the shoulders
of giants. Gilberto Espinosa and Jose Edmundo Espinosa have
served as the principal giants in my own career as a lover of New
Mexican santos. I count myself their disciple above all, for they in-
troduced me to the way the santos fit into the spirituality of the
Hispanic people: how their people held the faith of the Church,
how they led the life of Christian morality, and above all, how they
said their prayers within a context composed of the sacred persons
whom the santos represent and make present. The santos and
SANTOS AND SAINTS
saints were and are a central component in the people's religious
lives: that is what this present book is about, what its earlier ver-
sions were about.
As I said in prefacing the 1982 edition, I will always be grateful
for the many nice words written and spoken about the old Santos
and Saints. I would like in this newest version to acknowledge also
my longstanding debts of gratitude to a list of good people: my fami-
ly back in Saint Louis— at the wrong end of the Santa Fe Trail; the
whole of the Tompkins and Barbieri clans; my Jesuit brethren at
Regis University in Denver and at Immaculate Conception Church
in Albuquerque; Charlie and Debbie, Larry and Alyce, Fred and
Kelly, Phil and Mollie, Pat and Pauline; Nat; the Tuesday Book Club
of Denver; Dr. Randy and my Regis students and Dr. Andy and
my University of New Mexico students over the years; the helpful
people at the Regis and University of New Mexico libraries, the
archdiocesan archives of Santa Fe and Denver, and the New
Mexico State Records and Archives; Jim and his friends and Bob
and Aurora and their friends; and Mary and Marta at Ancient
City Press. Casey Stengel admitted once, in all due humility, that
he could not have won the pennant and Series without the players.
So from me: thanks, team! Even if I could have done it without you
(and I could not), it would have been far less fun.
Albuquerque and Denver
Fiesta de San Francisco de As is, 1994
SANTOS AND SAINTS
" • •
Saint James the Greater (Santiago; #115 in Appendix B) by an anonymous
early nineteenth-century santero. The saint carries a couple of quirts in his
sword hand. The lovely bulto, in the Santuario de Chimayo, was listed in an
1818 inventory and mentioned in Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Arch-
bishop. Photo courtesy of Museum of New Mexico.
Holy Art, Holy Artist
I he flourishing tradition of New Mexico Hispanic vernacular
_ 1 art began toward the end of the eighteenth century when
New Mexican artisans imitated to the best of their abilities the
statues, paintings, and popular prints imported from the south.
These fine-art prototypes exemplified the Baroque phase of the great
European Renaissance. Their New Mexican imitations differed
not only in formal techniques but more importantly in their very
being. A Renaissance religious painting or sculpture created in
Madrid or in Mexico City, however poorly crafted, is primarily
meant to be and is an aesthetic object, but its New Mexican equiv-
alent, however artistically successful, is not. The latter has a dif-
ferent relationship to painter and viewer since it is meant to operate
in a different range of experience from the aesthetic. It is part
The Renaissance placed so high a premium on aesthetic quality
that it subordinated holiness to beauty and excluded intrinsic
sacredness even from religious art. The people of the Renaissance
insisted that art ought to be realistic, but the people of New Mexico,
being still very medieval in their outlook, demanded art that was
SANTOS AND SAINTS
real. To them, art was part of the religious domain; art participated
—granted, to a limited degree— in the very being, in both the
essence and the existence, of one or another of the heavenly per-
sons: God and His angels and saints. In this sense, a santo is holy
art because it was fashioned according to a holy prototype and for
a holy purpose.
The ultimate objects of imitation, then, were the sacred persons
of salvation history and of heaven. William Wroth makes a very
helpful statement: 'The accounts of miraculous images 'made with-
out hands 7 provide the basis for the traditional theory and practice
of Christian image-making. The image which the artist creates is, in
a symbolic sense, made without hands, for its Divine prototype pre-
exists and is discovered— not created— by the artist ." This discovery
occurs when the artist, united with the Divine and assisted by
grace, contemplates the heavenly person to be represented. 1
The proximate objects of imitation were the previous portrayals
of a given subject from outside the colony, by earlier santeros, or
by the santero himself. New Mexican santero art imitated art and
not nature. Older images determined most aspects of how a par-
ticular retablo or bulto would look. For instance, San Geronimo
was not shown as European art generally showed him, dressed as
a cardinal and seated in his study reading a book or writing at a
desk. Instead, he nearly always knelt in some nondescript space,
wearing a hermit's robe and striking his breast with a penitential
stone while the trumpet of God's voice spoke in his ear and a lion-
monster lay at his feet.
In the New Mexican santero tradition, a painting was judged
holy if it repeated the previous paintings of the same subject in its
tradition, and it thereby resembles the icon of Greek Byzantium and
Russia. The theory of icons in the Orthodox Churches was based
on the Neoplatonic doctrine of participation, and so it interpreted
the icon as a dependent entity that shared the being, holiness,
power, intelligibility, beauty, life, and purpose of its model. 2 In New
Mexico, even the relatively and naively naturalistic late-nineteenth-
century bultos developed within a folk-Platonic mentality 3
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST
The tradition of the icon (and that of the santo) lay poles
apart from the Renaissance, which committed itself and the art it
produced to a realistic representation of the earth-archetypes that
guided its era. When the Western Renaissance finally impacted
Eastern-Church art, Van der Leeuw notes, "The degeneration is
irremediable as soon as images of saints become portraits of saints."
Symeon of Thessalonika had feared just such an outcome when
he came into contact with the fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance:
What else have [the Latin Catholics] created contrary
to church custom? The sacred and august [Greek] im-
ages are devoutly offered to the believers so that they
might pay due honor to their godly prototypes, accord-
ing to the nature of the sacred icons and the truth of
iconic appearances. For the icons depict the Word who
became incarnate for our sake, all his godly works and
sufferings for us, all his miracles and mysteries, as well
as the most holy form of his holy ever-virgin mother,
the shape of his saints, and everything that the gospel
narratives and the other divine scriptures propose.
And the icons teach all of this in an iconic manner,
with colors and the rest of the artist's materials, a sort
of alternate alphabet. But as we have said, these
[Latins] change things, often making even the sacred
images in some alien style, ignoring the customary
rules and prettying their statues up with human hair
and human clothes instead of showing them with
painted hair and garments— not the image of hair and
clothing but the hair and clothes of some actual
human, certainly not the image and shape of the pro-
totypes. And so [the Latins] create and decorate their
images contrary to the pious way of doing things, thus
really demeaning the holy icons, as the canon of the
Seventh Ecumenical Council has it, for it forbids the
manufacture of any images that cannot help simple
believers. What is done contrary to order is not done
aright, and the Fathers [of the Church] do not sanction
4 SANTOS AND SAINTS
But what Symeon feared came to pass, and "the art of icons as
painting was eliminated in favor of autonomous art, which made
humans for humans." Wroth quotes Frithjof Schuon: "In the six-
teenth century the Patriarch Nikon ordered the destruction of icons
influenced by the Renaissance and threatened with excommunica-
tion those who painted or owned such paintings. After him, the
Patriarch Joachim required by his will that icons should always be
painted according to ancient models and not 'follow Latin or Ger-
man models, which are invented according to the personal whim
of the artist and corrupt the tradition of the Church/" 4
The santeros took levy of the material world, its earths and its
vegetation, for the wood, gesso, and pigments from which they
crafted their santos. Not being romantics, they did not view nature
as sacred in itself. But when portions of nature became the
substance of the holy images, these materials actuated the incar-
national ability of matter to partake even of the celestial, even of
the divine. Willard Hougland tells of a man who acquired a bulto
of Santiago, which "came to him with almost all the hair gone. In
his search for a suitable source of additional hair, his eyes lighted
on a small white dog belonging to a neighbor. He obtained the
needed hair, and thenceforth the dog was regarded with greatly
increased respect by all of the neighbors." 5
The painter of a retablo or the shaper of a bulto was occasionally
an amateur, trying his hand at one or two works and then aban-
doning his career. To understand more clearly why the number of
santeros is in fact quite limited, we need only consider the amount
of effort a beginner would need to paint one retablo and fashion
one bulto from scratch. First, the would-be santero cuts down a pine
tree and digs up the roots of a cottonwood tree. After letting them
dry for a couple of years, he saws off a log as long as his panel or
statue is to be tall. With a hatchet, froe, or saw he shapes the front,
back, and sides of the panel and roughs out the carving. Next he
does some trimming of each piece of wood with a drawknife, carves
the statue to within a millimenter or two of its proper shape with
a pocketknife, and smoothes the front of the retablo or the front
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST
Death-Cart (Dona Sebastiana; #143
in Appendix B) perhaps by
Nasario Guadalupe Lopez of
Cordova. This masterpiece dates
from around 1860. Photo by Jesse
L. Nusbaum, courtesy Museum of
New Mexico, neg. #13671.
SANTOS AND SAINTS
and sides of the statue with a rough stone used like sandpaper.
His next step is to manufacture gesso— the santero would have
called it yeso or jaspe— by searching out some gypsum (fairly com-
mon in New Mexico), baking it to drive off all moisture, and grind-
ing it in a mortar to extreme fineness. He then boils rabbit hides
or the hoofs or horns of cattle and mixes the resulting casein glue
with the powdered gypsum. He then brushes it in thin coats onto
the surface of the wood and smoothes it with a smooth rock when
it is dry.
The santero makes his water-base paints from various materials:
some from dyes imported into the colony for tinting woolen cloth
(indigo, Prussian blue, cochineal, and brazilwood), some from local
earths (Zuni azurite, and red and yellow ochers and oxides), and
some from local plants (chamisa, snakeweed, madderroot, walnut
hulls, and juniper bark). The blacks come from charcoal and soot.
Paint brushes were variously yucca fronds or willow shoots
chewed to produce the correct texture of "bristle," chicken feathers
bound together, or animal hair tied in neat bunches. And if our
hypothetical santero has persevered this far, he may finally begin
to paint. 6
Because our imaginary santero fashioned his images according
to the religious iconography of the Spanish Empire, he formed them
in such a way as to fit purposefully into the harsh but beautiful
world of the vecinos (settlers) at the farthest and most ragged rim
of Christendom. The Renaissance arrived late in Spain, so the
Hispanic settlers in the New World were only lightly touched by
the vision of the world which classical Greece began and the
Renaissance completed. The few external influences that brought
themselves to bear in the outlying colonies such as New Mexico
were indeed Renaissance-Baroque, but these were submerged in
a hostile and alien environment, a world that the New Mexican
vecinos ritualized so that they could tolerate forces they could neither
analyze by means of science nor control by means of technology.
Traditional New Mexico did not assert that the natural order
was identical with the supernatural, but the line between these two
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST
realms, so clear in the Reformation and Counterreformation
theologies of Europe, lost its clarity in New Mexico. The everyday
and the miraculous were differentiated only as the usual and the
unusual, and they were expected to interpenetrate regularly. God
and his saints were familiar and familial in eighteenth and nine-
teenth century New Mexico.
Above all, the santero's art did not exist merely for art's sake.
In the eyes of the people of New Mexico during the last century,
santos were instruments within a network of related activities like
prayer, penance, pilgrimages, processions, and the like. Through
this network of magico-religious technologies, the adept can exert
a powerful persuasive force on the sacred powers— the God of the
New Mexcan Hispanics, along with his saints— that control the
Far from being an object created for detached aesthetic con-
templation, ars gratia artis, the santo entered intimately into the lives
of the family or community to which it belonged— the morada
chapter of the penitential Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the
Nazarene, the townspeople who worshiped together in the chapel,
the family members who prayed at the altar in their home. If the
people needed something, they besought the saint in the person
of his or her santo; if they did not receive the favor at once, they
might take the santo in procession to the site of the difficulty. It is
said that a Holy Child was so impressed by the sad sight of dry
fields that he responded with a great rainstorm that flooded the
fields; the next day the people carried the figure of Our Lady out
to see the havoc her son had caused: "Look what your bad little
boy did!" In cases of illness, the santo might even have a few slivers
of its wood burned so that the ashes might imbue the patient's food
or drink with the holiness and power of the saint and hasten the
return to health.
When the favor arrived with appropriate speed and restraint,
the recipient would reward the santo and thus the saint with a new
dress or some costume jewelry, a lighted candle, or a brass "milagro"
in the shape of the healed leg or arm or eyes, the recovered horse
or burro or cow. For some really impressive favor, the favored party
SANTOS AND SAINTS
might provide an all-night velorio (vigil) of prayers and hymns.
Lorin Brown tells of the wise Cordova sacristan Tia Lupe:
She lavished especial care on the various images of the
saints, whom she loved and with whom she carried on
a loving, though familiar, conversation. Each was a
distinct personality to her, and she knew the respon-
sibilities each had assumed. She would tell San Antonio,
as she gave the child in his arms a loving pat on the
cheek, "Be careful with that child; do not let him fall,
good San Antonio." She would promise the Virgin a
new dress because the one she wore had a spot of
melted wax from the taper that stood by it. San
Miguel, with the writhing serpent under foot, would
receive the most enthusiastic and admiring praises for
his courage and heroism in subduing the monster, and
he would also be admonished, "\A\f, ten ese feo, no lo dejes
ir!— Keep that ugly one under foot, do not turn him
loose!" Then she shook an admonitory finger in the
face of Santa Ines and said, "jMiral— Look! I will not
make you that new dress if you do not help my nephew
Manuel find his burro so his family will not lack
wood!" At this an unobserved witness chuckled, where-
upon Tia Lupe turned with an exclamation ....
She was asked, "Are you not afraid of the good
saint's anger if you treat her that way?"
And Tia Lupe said charmingly, "No. I didn't mean it,
and Santa Ines knew that I didn't." Just the same, Tia
Lupe made haste to light a fresh candle in front of Santa
Ines, whose aid is sought in locating animals that have
If the saint seemed to refuse the favor or even subject the devotee
to an unreasonable delay, the santo might suffer a punishment of
shame by being turned to the wall, put out of sight, or deprived
of some ornament. But such behavior could not have been typical
of a people too intelligent and reverent and realistic to be childishly
petulant when disappointed. Since spirit is always personal and
persons are always at least partly spiritual, the people attributed
personal traits such as free will (and free wilfulness) to the santos.
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST
Because santos always represent persons and participated in their
personhood, these wooden images belong intrinsically to the world
of Hispanic spirituality. 8
The New Mexico tradition of religious folk art grew out of and
away from the provincial Baroque phase of the Renaissance where
the artist's function was to achieve his individual vision of the sub-
ject matter and produce an artifact of maximum aesthetic value. The
Renaissance period made tremendous technical advances in tech-
nical advances in painting, especially the discovery and perfecting
of linear perspective. But its stress on purely artistic and aesthetic
attainment excluded or at least subordinated many other values im-
portant to the greater human context, including some that the
subject matter called for.
In Renaissance-Baroque painting it does not matter whether
the painter is a good man (Fra Angelico) or a bad one (Fra Filippo
Lippi). Oscar Wilde summed this attitude up perfectly by saying,
"The fact of a man's being a poisoner is nothing against his prose."
It is of no consequence to purely formal, intrinsic criteria whether
the subject matter be Virgin and Child or Venus and Cupid,
Magdalen and Christ or Venus and Adonis. 9 Wroth notes, by con-
trast, how the icon tradition makes stringent moral demands on
its sacred artists:
In the ancient Church and in the Eastern Churches
down to our times, icon painters prepared themselves
for their work by fasting, by prayer, and by sacraments;
to the inspiration which had fixed the immutable type
of the picture they added their own humble and pious
inspirations; scrupulously they respected the symbolism
—always susceptible of an endless series of precious
nuances— of the forms and colors. They drew their
creative joy not from inventing pretentious novelties
but from a loving recreation of the revealed prototypes,
and hence came a spiritual and artistic perfection such
as no individual genius could ever attain. 10
The tradition of New Mexico santos likewise assumed and de-
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Esquipulas Crucifixion (#16a in Appendix B) by Pedro Fresquis. The tradi-
tional space-filling flowerpots have grown into splendid life-forms. From a
private collection, with permission.
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST 11
manded that the santero was a holy man, for only thus could the
santo be holy and powerful in the religious sphere due both to its
maker's holiness and to the holiness of its subject matter.
In fact, each santero had a personal style, a set of artistic idiosyn-
crasies (like his handwriting) that stayed with him from painting
to painting, however little he reflected on them. But if he began his
work within the santero tradition of iconography and remained
within it as his career continued, he became a living part of that
tradition. And thus every time he painted or sculpted some given
saint, it resembled (by intention) the santos of the tradition and (by
force of idiosyncrasy) his own earlier work. Hence he operated more
and more according to the norms of a two-fold tradition.
Within this matrix, the holiness of the santero and the holiness
of the pictures he copied issued into new paintings and statues that
were objects holy in themselves, intrinsically sacred by reason of
the man who made them, the materials they were made from, the
models they imitated, and the purpose for which they were in-
tended. The bulto or retablo was not merely a reminder of some
edifying and instructive holy person from legend or the past history
of the church; a santo properly made by a holy santero had a
sacredness of its own. In this context, it should be increasingly clear
why the santero, as the producer of an intrinsically sacred and
powerful artifact, needed to possess personal sanctity and even a
The majority of extant eighteenth- and nineteenth-century san-
tos seem to be the work of a couple of dozen dedicated men for
whom the making of santos was an abiding profession— indeed,
a vocation. The santero's calling restricted him to a fairly narrow
subject range of holy personages, 11 for authentic New Mexican
folk santeros never portrayed secular subjects, with very few ex-
ceptions such as toys, animals, and other tourist items of the sort.
Whatever the earlier santeros might have thought of their artistic
ability, they seem to have viewed their activity as intrinsically
holy, and the people seem to have expected them to be holy in their
personal lives. E. Boyd found a document granting Pedro Fresquis'
petition for permission to be buried in the Santuario of Chimayo,
recording as the motive the fact that he "has labored with devo-
12 SANTOS AND SAINTS
tion in various material works of our churches and and in the
chapels of Las Truchas and the Santuario of Our Lord of in
Esqufpulas [Chimayo] without having required any recompense
at all, and instead merely having been praised for his zeal by the
former father visitor/' Of some later artists we learn that "to be suc-
cessful, at least in the San Luis Valley, a santero had to lead an ex-
emplary life. There was the belief that the better the personal and
religious life of the santero the more merit there was to be found
in a specimen of his work." And it was said of a santero who worked
about 1910-30, "Celso Gallegos was also in in demand as a reader
of prayers among his neighbors." 12
When a contemporary santero moved to a small Spanish moun-
tain village in the mid-1960s he received, he told me, marked ex-
pressions of respect and even reverence when the people discovered
what he was about. There is no need to suggest that the santero
had to be the very holiest man in the region or even the village,
and he was certainly not held to be anything like an "inspired magi-
cian," but it seems to have been felt that he should be in some way
removed from the average. We are at any rate, obviously, a long way
from Oscar Wilde and "the fact of a man being a poisoner."
The main thrust of the santero's art is, then, toward the holy
and powerful rather than toward the beautiful. Unreflectively us-
ing the talent at his disposal, the santero tried to make his retablo
or bulto as honestly as possible, and he generally achieved a deft-
ness and strength of portrayal that few artists in the era could match.
For it was not his personal talent, his unique vision, his in-
dividualistic self-expression, his own reputation that occupied his
attention, but only the lightness of the work at hand. And this was
guaranteed for him so long as he worked as well as he could within
the tradition that nourished him and which was in practice his
whole world of art. The complete adequacy of its iconographic
system sustained him in his efforts in such a way as to take
precedence over his reflective self-awareness: most of the santeros
never signed a work, and those who did signed only a tiny
minimum of their productions. It was not the name Pedro Fresquis
or Jose Rafael Aragon that guaranteed the work, nor was it the
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST 13
artist's unique imagination; it was the living model, the saint himself
or herself existing in the everlasting eternity of heaven and (more
proximately) in the abiding tradition of sacred iconography the
santero had learned from his mentors.
Just as the largest landowner of an area served as the villagers'
link to the larger world of Santa Fe, just as the padre connected his
flock to the larger Catholic Church, so the santos connected every
chapel and every home in the whole colony to the eternally
validating domain of heaven. Divine and saintly power became
most especially present and actual in the images. It drew near to
the beholder who could in turn draw near to it, for with and
through the santos men and women could share in the blest life
of God and his angels and saints.
1 . William Wroth, Christian Images in Hispanic New Mexico: The Taylor Museum
Collection of Santos (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs
Fine Arts Center, 1982), 6. This remark follows mention of King Abgar's Holy
Face of Edessa, Veronica's Veil, and the Shroud of Turin. In the New World, the
Guadalupe tilma is the prime example of the image "not made by hands."
The modern theology of narrative has recently begun to touch upon the lives
of the ordinary saints, who are the majority of the ultimate objects of imitation,
but so far it is interested only in what it fondly calls "real" saints. Granted that
they incarnate Christ in changing ages and cultures, exemplify church teachings,
act as foci of fellowship, and edify the church, yet these "real" saints serve mainly
as Pelagian models for imitation in the moral-ethical order. Thus they are "real"
like characters in novels: three-dimensional personalities set firmly into their ap-
propriate historical backgrounds.
By contrast, medieval and New Mexican saints are much more like characters
in romances: two-dimensional emblems more to be utterly astonished at than
to be imitated (nearly unthinkable!). They embody power because holiness is
power; they have been constructed out of nothing (Librada, Barbara, Philomena,
George) or next to nothing (Acacio, Christopher, Cecilia, Santiago) in precisely
such a way as to be other (aliter, anders, alien) and transcendent. See Lawrence
S. Cunningham, "A Decade of Research on the Saints, 1980-1990," Theological
Studies 53 (1992), 517-33.
2. Neoplatonism systematizes a worldview that is very religious, allegorical,
symbolic, and sacramental, for it continues the age-old primal and tribal view
of the world (Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return [New York: Bollingen,
14 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Although the theologians were consciously and reflectively Neoplatonic, the
common people (who insisted on the icons when the scholars waffled) did not,
of course, subscribe to Neoplatonism or any other systematic philosophy.
3. George Mills, The People of the Saints (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum,
4. Gerardus van der Leeuw, Sacred and Profane Beauty (London: Weidenfeld
and Nicolson, 1963), 176; Symeon, Contra Haereses 23 (from Migne, Patrologium
Graecum, vol. 155, col. 112), my translation; van der Leeuw, 176, 178; Wroth, Chris-
tian Images, 23-44; Kay F. Turner, "The Cultural Semiotics of Religious Icons: La
Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos," Semiotica 47 (1983), 319.
In the Symeon quote, I suspect him of making a nifty pun between "they
build up, raise up, make" (ana + histemi, anistorousin) and "they are ignorant
of history" (an + historeo, anistorousin). Furthermore, "raise up" is often used
in church Greek to speak of birth or resurrection, bringing life out of the non-
living—an apt metaphor for the creation of art, whether secular or sacred, icon
After noting that "Religion fears the presence of an idol" (178), Gerardus van
der Leeuw goes on to say that the Greeks of the classical era therefore "preferred
the xoanon [the primitive statue which recalled in its stiff shape the block of stone
or wood from which it had been carved] to the works of art of one of their great
5. Willard Hougland, Santos: A Primitive American Art (New York: Kleijkamp
and Monroe, 1946), 32.
6. See Rutherford J. Gettens and Evan H. Turner, "The Materials and
Methods of Some Religions Paintings of Early Nineteenth-Century New Mex-
ico," El Palacio 58 (1951), 3-16; Jose E. Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys (Albuquer-
que: University of New Mexico Press, 1960), 53-58; E. Boyd, "The New Mexico
Santero," El Palacio 76, 1 (Spring 1969), 5-6.
Most of what I have said in this section of the book I owe to Charles Car-
rillo, presently the leading expert on these matters.
7. Lorin W. Brown, "Tia Lupe," WPA Writers' Project, New Mexico State
Records and Archives. It has been published in a slightly different form in Brown,
Hispano Folklife of New Mexico, ed. Charles L. Briggs and Marta Weigle (Albuquer-
que: University of New Mexico Press, 1978), 131-32, and in Marta Weigle, Two
Guadalupes (Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1987), 5. See also Nina Otero Warren,
Old Spain in Our Southwest (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1936), 23-24; George Mills,
People of the Saints, 58-59; Nasario Garcia, Abuelitos: Stories of the R!o Puerco Valley
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1992), 76-77; and Larry Frank,
New Kingdom of the Saints (Santa Fe: Red Crane Books, 1992), 19-20.
8. For reputable reports of "punishment" of santos, see Gilberto Espinosa,
"New Mexico Saints," New Mexico Magazine 13, 3 (March 1935), 11; Jose E.
Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys, 85; Mills, People of the Saints, 58-59; Roland M.
Dickey, New Mexico Village Arts (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
HOLY ART, HOLY ARTIST IS
On an artifact as quasi-personal, see Martin Buber, I and Thou (New York:
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958), 7-10, 33, 124-26.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian's girl friend Dona Sebastiana is an apparent exception to
the rule that a santo represents a holy person, for she is merely an allegorical
personification of death riding in an old-style ox-cart. But she is only a memento
mori, a reminder of death, and knowledgeable New Mexicans do not pray to her;
hence she is not exactly a santo. See Louisa R. Stark, "The Origin of the Penitente
'Death Cart,' " Journal of American Folklore 84 (1971), 304-10; Thomas J. Steele, S.J.,
"The Death Cart: Its Place Among the Santos," Colorado Magazine 55, 1 (Winter
1978), 1-14; Wroth, Images of Penance, Images of Mercy (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1991), 149-59.
9. Oscar Wilde, Intentions (New York: Brentano's, 1907), 90; T.E. Hulme,
Speculations (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1936), 9; Murray Roston, The
Soul of Wit: A Study of John Donne (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 160-61.
10. Wroth, Christian Images, 10, quoting Frith jof Schuon, Spiritual Perspectives
and Human Facts (London: Perennial Books, 1969), 36-37.
11. For a study of needed innovation within an apparently closed system,
see Steele, "The Death Cart," 1-14.
12. Archives of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, Patentes, Book 70, Box 4, Of-
ficial Acts of Vicar Rascon, 1829-33, 25, quoted in E. Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish
New Mexico (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1974), 329; William J.
Wallrich, "The Santero Tradition in the San Luis Valley," Western Folklore 10 (1951),
155, 157; Boyd, "The New Mexico Santero," 22.
Saint Rosalie of Palermo (#137 in Appendix B) by Molleno, painted
early in his long career. Collections of the School of American
Research at the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of New
Pre-Renaissance ana Post-Renaissance
I he Renaissance was a tradition of visual realism and linear
_ I perspective which dominated European-American art from
the end of the Middle Ages (1415 or so) to the advent of the Post-
Impressionists and the Cubists (1890 or so). By contrast, the
nineteenth-century New Mexican Spanish painters had in many
ways developed into medieval styles, so by mere accident they
anticipated the vision of post-Renaissance painting. Much of what
Gauguin sought in the South Pacific and Picasso found in African
artifacts the untutored New Mexicans discovered merely by doing
art in their own cultural context, and their vigorous synthesis
became a true if temporary post-Renaissance tradition.
The statement that the nineteenth-century New Mexican san-
tos emerged from the Indian cultures of the region has been denied
time and again, but it continues to recur in popular treatments of
this vernacular religious art. Granted that the santeros used the
same materials to make their santos that the Pueblos used to make
their kachinas and tablitas, granted that the Quill Pen Santero used
some purely decorative motifs that are probably Native American,
and granted that many of the santeros had Indian forebears, no one
18 SANTOS AND SAINTS
has yet made an even slightly plausible case that the santos are
culturally Native American. Perhaps the error of thinking that
santos stem from the Native American tradition gives, by its very
persistence, a clue to a deep truth about the santos that even persons
familiar with them and with contemporary art fail at times to notice:
Santos do indeed come from a culture vastly different from the
European-American mainstream, so different that careless pop-
ularizers continue to seek their cultural origin in some people
without European cultural roots. 1
The almost exotic character of the santos was a result of several
factors: New Mexico's long isolation from the larger world, the loss
of the cultural infrastructure that had supported Renaissance styles,
the medieval cast of Franciscan spirituality, the people's rural tradi-
tionalism, and a severe limitation of artistic training, tools, and
materials. 2 The length and depth of New Mexican isolation is hard
to overestimate. The first Spanish settled in New Mexico in 1598,
and when their descendants were expelled from 1680 to 1693, those
who hoped to return retreated only to El Paso, in the southern part
of the colony. EXiring the eighteenth century, visitors to New Mexico
were rare and newcomers were few except for the governor and his
entourage and the Franciscan missionary pastors. Carey McWilliams
describes the extent of the most important factor:
Isolation is the key to the New Mexico cultural com-
plex. The deepest penetration of civilized man in North
America, New Mexico was a lonely outpost of Spanish
settlement for three hundred years, isolated from Mex-
ico, California, Texas, and Arizona, isolated by deserts,
mountain ranges, and hostile Indian tribes. It would be
difficult, in fact, to imagine an isolation more nearly
complete than that which encompassed New Mexico
from 1598 to 1820. For its isolation was multiple and
compound: geographic isolation bred social and
cultural isolation; isolated in space, New Mexico was
also in time. Primitive means of transportation and the
lack of navigable streams extended distances a
thousandfold. It took the New Mexicans five months to
make the 1200-mile round trip, along the Turquoise
SANTO SPACE 1Q
Trail, from Santa Fe to Chihuahua. 3
This isolation continued into the first part of the nineteenth cen-
tury, when even the most important news could not travel from
Mexico City to Santa Fe in less than a month. Under these cir-
cumstances it is not surprising that art in general and painting in
particular retreated toward medieval styles. But in doing so it hap-
pened to anticipate certain minor features of Cubism, the move-
ment that put an end to the Renaissance.
Besides the obviously Catholic subjects and the basic icon-
ography, New Mexican art retained only the Renaissance trait of
painting "easel" pictures— paintings done not on walls and other
functional things but on stretched canvases and wooden panels that
had been made solely to be painted on. The change to this new
kind of Nearer" of paint as a standard practice is an innovation of
the Renaissance. It is a step typical of the period in that it exemplifies
the tendency of the era toward visual abstraction, for during all
previous ages painting and all similar decorating was done upon
something which was a functional object in its own right. The
human body was tattooed or covered with war paint; a pipe,
warclub, shield, or some other tool was decorated with a painted
or incised design; a container like a pottery bowl was embellished
with a pattern before or after firing; a mural or mosaic adorned a
wall or ceiling; stained glass enhanced a window; a design was
woven into a rug or blanket or basket. The New Mexico Spanish
santeros painted on specially prepared wooden panels, thereby re-
taining the Renaissance innovation of what might be called "picture-
space" (on the analogy of Marshall McLuhan's "page-space"), but
in most other respects their work became almost wholly a folk form.
New Mexican church architecture, by contrast, consciously
attempted to imitate the European Renaissance styles of New Spain
which the missionary pastors had seen. Both interior and exterior
vistas are deliberately planned; the door is set opposite the main
altar, and the floor, walls, and roof frame the altar to the viewer as
he enters. In like manner, the facade of the church is properly
viewed from the gateway to the cemetery in the walled enclosure
in front of the church. The point of view is controlled, and in turn
20 SANTOS AND SAINTS
it controls what is seen so that it may be appreciated to the max-
imum. But these Renaissance traits occur only in New Mexico
churches, not in vernacular and domestic architecture such as
moradas, small oratorios, and family homes.
Other Renaissance characteristics were conspicuously lacking
in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century New Mexico. The
Gutenberg age, which in Europe formed with architectural vista
and lineal perspective the bulk of the visualist Renaissance syn-
drome, did not come to New Mexico until 1832, when lawyer and
politician Antonio Barreiro set up the territory's first printing press,
the only one for fifteen years. Furthermore, the mercantile aspect
of the European Renaissance was also very slow in touching New
Mexico, which struggled along with a barter economy and a non-
competitive system of gift-exchanging within extended-family
villages where offering or asking wages for work fell somewhere
between the unthinkable and the insulting.
Thus in general, the individualistic point of view which is the
hallmark of the Renaissance, interiorized only very slightly by the
sixteenth-century European Spanish, eroded almost totally in the
isolated colony of New Mexico, so that by the nineteenth century
the inhabitants of most small villages were more like medieval
peasants than they were like the Anglos who arrived with the
traders' wagons across the Santa Fe Trail, with Kearny's and
Doniphan's armies, or in their wake. The Spanish were immersed
in a highly familial religion, in an extended family appropriate to
their peasant economy of subsistence agriculture, and in a view of
time that deemphasized the future as something controllable less
by man than by God and the saints and that validated the present
through its relation with events in a "timeless time past" or with
The Baroque phase of the total Renaissance prevailed in the
parts of New Spain around the City of Mexico during the formative
years of the New Mexican colony, reconquered and resettled after
the 1680-1693 period of Pueblo independence. The Reniassance in
general and Baroque style in particular were far too sophisticated
for the New Mexicans to sustain. A Renaissance person must grasp
cultural history clearly enough to distinguish the classical and the
SANTO SPACE 21
medieval and choose the former. By contrast, although practically
everything in New Mexican culture was borrowed from Europe by
way of New Spain, the culture knew neither new nor old, possess-
ing everything in a timeless, non-linear time in such a way as to
lack a reflective historical sense of itself or its origins. 4
The three main pillars of medievalism were certain survivals
of Latin classicism, the Roman Catholic religion, and the Germanic
peoples who retribalized Western Europe before giving way to
detribalization and acculturation into the new cultural synthesis.
In eighteenth- and nineteenth century New Mexico, these three fac-
tors were repeated. Traditional New Mexican Hispanic culture was
characterized by certain survivals of the Baroque and Neo-classical,
by Franciscan Christianity of a very strongly medieval cast, and by
the tribal cultures (both Pueblo and nomadic) that dominated the
colony well into the eighteenth century before the Hispanic cultural
synthesis prevailed. 5
William Wroth notes that Christian folk art appeared in Europe
as a survival of medievalism when the Renaissance began to create
art that was not compatible with the popular religion of the ma-
jority of the people: "Religious folk art is the inheritor and preserver
of medieval religious art." 6 But this choice of the medieval was not
reflective and deliberate as the Renaissance choice of the classical
had been, and so the choosing is transformed into narratives by
the "cycle of the shepherds" stories about finding statues that were
lost or hidden in past ages (the Laguna tale of the Nuestra Sehora
bulto wailing in an abandoned house), statues that returned from
enforced exile (La Conquistadora), statues that were not made by
human hands (the various Chimayo stories of the finding of the
Esqufpulas crucifix). 7 These statues are hieratic, stiff, formal,
unrealistic— which is to say, perfectly suited to be objects of religious
For reasons which this book will explore at length, the New
Mexico Spanish of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries prac-
ticed Catholicism in a way that required a large number of images-
statues and paintings of the divine persons and the saints. A church
or chapel which was not decorated with a score of images of holy
persons would have seemed poor indeed; a private household
SANTOS AND SAINTS
The Holy Family (#5 in Appendix B) by Rafael Aragon. The bases on
which the three figures stand are carefully though imprecisely model-
ed, but at the bottom they simply merge into the encircling border.
From a private collection, with permission.
SANTO SPACE 23
which did not display several saints would have been liable to the
suspicion of not being very religiously inclined. But at the same
time, the influx of holy images from Mexico and beyond had
dwindled to a mere trickle as the support provided by the mother
country for her least favored stepchild fell far below any pretense
of adequacy. Under these circumstances, the Spanish in New Mex-
ico began to produce sacred art for themselves.
The comparatively few works of art imported into the colony
during the eighteenth century were mainly oil paintings on canvas
for churches and the homes of the wealthier laity, and the surviv-
ing examples seem almost all to have been Mexican in origin and
religious in subject. In the context of European painting of the time,
these are themselves plainly provincial (rather than metropolitan),
but many of them are fairly adept at depicting a third dimension
through realistic portrayal of garments and background draperies,
the chiaroscuro on limbs and other rounded objects, and the exact
management of linear perspective. The earliest Hispanic painting
done in New Mexico was consequently provincial as well, since it
was produced by persons so totally under the influence of the wider
European-Mexican art world that its criteria served (for better or
worse) as the original criteria of New Mexican painting.
The history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century New Mex-
ican painting is best told by tracing the loss of that great Renaissance
artistic invention, the illusion of a third dimension. This return from
Spanish and Spanish-American mainstream artists to their medieval
progenitors is most characterized by painting on hides and wooden
panels (retablos). A brief history of the draftmanship of these paint-
ings, with a few notes on sculpture, thus traces the development
of a vernacular village art from its metropolitan and provincial roots.
The earliest extant Christian paintings done in New Mexico
were drawn and painted on the hides of large animals, mainly elk
and buffalo. These may have received an extra impetus after two
different artists produced the Segesser hide paintings, one of which
shows the disastrous 1720 defeat of the Pueblos and Spanish under
Villasur by the French and Pawnees. One Franciscan friar and one
24 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Mexico-City-born shoemaker, Francisco Xavier Romero, probably
painted most of the religious paintings on hide that decorated the
churches and chapels and served as illustrations for catechism. Even
though these artists had little or no academic training, they still
strove to elicit all the impact of the religious paintings done in other
lands despite their own limited ability and the intractable materials
at hand. Garments are insistently modeled, for the hide-paintings
attempt to give the illusion of space, and even though the tech-
niques used to this end— linear perspective in floor tiling, archi-
tectural "frames," placing of items before and behind the main
figure, and shading of rounded objects— are usually handled im-
precisely, they were at least rough approximations of the techniques
that were taught and used properly in studios in the metropolitan
cities of Europe and New Spain. 8
An early work created in the colony itself which ought never-
theless to be considered with the imports is the 1761 altarscreen
now in the Church of Cristo Rey in Santa Fe. This great stone struc-
ture was donated by Governor and Captain-General Francisco
Antonio Marin del Valle and his wife Maria Ignacia Martinez de
Ugarte to the chapel of Nuestra Sehora de la Luz, later known as
the Castrense. These two benefactors commissioned two Spanish
or Mexican artists to travel to Santa Fe and create the great reredos
from local stone, which they carved in low relief, gessoed, and
painted. A small semicircular panel at the apex shows God the
Father, and just below him is Nuestra Sehora de Valvanera. On the
next tier down three panels show San Jose Patriarca holding the
Santo Nino, Santiago (the soldiers' patron), and San Juan
Nepomuceno (a patron of the Jesuit order). The lowest tier contains
a panel of San Ignacio Loyola (founder of the Jesuits, whose
namesake the governor's wife was), a central niche originally oc-
cupied by an oil painting of Nuestra Sehora de la Luz, and a final
stone relief of Francisco Solano, patron of the governor himself. This
altarscreen fits right in with the Mexican provincial work of the era;
the garments are realistically draped, and the treatment of anatomy
sets the figures into some illusion of space. These techniques, of
course, were not to be matched by later santeros, but the general
structure of the altarscreen, particularly columns to frame the
SANTO SPACE 25
panels on each side, may be seen in folk repetitions on nearly every
later New Mexican altarscreen. By its effect on the gesso reliefs and
altarscreens, the Castrense altarscreen influenced the whole tradi-
tion of New Mexican santero art. 9
Two artists of the period, Fray Andres Garcia (in New Mexico
from 1748 to 1778) and Captain Bernardo Miera y Pacheco (there
from 1756 to his death in 1785), were both painters and sculptors
whose works superficially resemble mainstream Renaissance art.
As painters, they began the New Mexican tradition of painting on
wood covered with gesso (gypsum and glue), perhaps borrowing
several techniques from the Pueblo Indians, who used pine panels
for tablitas and cottonwood root for kachina figures, used gesso,
and made pigments from locally-available materials. Garcia and
Miera had at least occasional access to oil paint, but they painted
many of their works with these homemade waterbased paints that
would become the staple of nineteenth-century santero art. Their
paintings surpass the hide paintings technically because of their
far more tractable medium, for the hides were so absorbent that
no painter could have achieved refined effects. Judged by
Renaissance norms, their stylistic inadequacies stand out all the
more sharply, but they both brought some important skills to their
part-time occupation (Miera was a military cartographer by trade,
Garcia a priest); they both handled lineal perspective tolerably, and
both had some grasp of aerial perspective— giving the illusion of
spatial depth by depicting a distant object more blue than it is, of
nearness by making it more red. 10
During this same early period, the movement from the dra-
matic and realistic Baroque to the static and iconic vernacular had
not yet begun in New Mexico; the late eighteenth-century statu-
ettes show only the Bernini-like poses of mannerist Baroque, made
awkward by the provincial and frontier limitations of their makers.
Indeed, provincialism seems the hallmark of eighteenth-century
painting and sculpture both done in and imported into New Mex-
ico. None of the work is very dynamic; all of it stays alive by con-
taining a feeble spark of the great Baroque tradition it imitates. It
is the umbilicus connecting the elder tradition to a weak infant
destined to become strong and independent, for the history of New
26 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Mexico's santero tradition is one of forgetting its provincial origin
and nearly all the techniques practiced in the provinces dependent
on the European school of fifteenth- to eighteenth-century art.
Though a few such traits remained well into the nineteenth cen-
tury, the tradition changed so basically as it became indigenous to
New Mexico that it assimilated all the painters' patterns and all the
saints' attributes into an independent new tradition. Despite their
traces of Mexican provincialism, New Mexico santos of the first half
of the nineteenth century are not provincial art but vernacular. 11
This art, fashioned almost exclusively from home-crafted local
materials, is of three sorts: retablos, bultos, and altarscreens.
A retablo is a painting made on a pine panel, sawed at top and
bottom, the rest split or sawed or hand-adzed and the front
smoothed, covered with gesso (a mixture of gypsum and animal
glue) and painted with water colors, many of them homemade from
carbons, earth oxides, and organic substances, some made from
dyes imported into the colony. A bulto is a statue assembled from
carved cottonwood root, covered with gesso, and painted like a
retablo; bultos were frequently clothed, so at times the nether por-
tions were constructed of small pine laths covered with cloth that
was then sized with gesso and painted when dry. An altarscreen
(reredos) is a large structure of pine columns, niches, and panels
to be placed above and behind an altar and finished like retablos.
With the anonymous artists of the first half (1785-1820) of the
"classical" period, principally the Eighteenth-Century Novice, the
Laguna Santero, and the makers of the gesso relief panels, the local
tradition accomplished its transition from provincial to vernacular
art. The Novice may have apprenticed with Miera y Pacheco. His
retablos show built-up lighter areas over a dark-red-bole under-
painting so as to try to model faces, limbs, and pedestals, but the
artist never really grasps the strategies needed for roundness. One
of his paintings manifests an attempt to place a crucifix effectively
"on" a table, but lines that ought to be either parallel or convergent
on the canvas diverge instead.
The anonymous Laguna Santero's name derives from the type
piece of his work, the altarscreen at the Laguna Pueblo Church of
San Jose, perhaps his last work and certainly his best (until it was
SANTO SPACE 27
unfortunately overpainted after an expert cleaning). Some of his
early more realistic works seem to strive after a third dimension only
in non-stylized flowers flowers and in the modeling of the patterned
garments. The background occasionally includes a tiled floor; since
tiles were not used in New Mexico, this trait clearly shows the in-
fluence of Mexican models. The gesso-relief santeros take care of
the roundness problem by building up a figure modeled in the ac-
tual third dimension of wet gesso with a drying agent of starch,
but the relief panels that depict tiled floors fail totally to convey
an illusion of depth because the lines are painted parallel, hence
making the tiles seem to stand on edge. 12
Antonio Molleno bestrode the small world of colonial New
Mexico. He was if not the best perhaps the most prolific and the
most experimental santero, and his career summed up the leading
features of the era. The uncertainty about his name is typical: he
knew how to letter, but he signed only his last name and that only
on one known painting, and his first name is only known from oral
tradition. He may have been born further south in the viceroyalty
and migrated into New Mexico, and he likely lived somewhere be-
tween Chimayo and Taos.
Molleno's career perfectly ran the gamut from the from the con-
clusion of provincialism to the sparest and most "folk" of vernacular
iconographies. He seems to have begun as an apprentice of the
Laguna Santero, but as E. Boyd noted, even his earliest work 'lacks
the latter's organized composition and sense of the third dimen-
sion ." Molleno's earliest work, by contrast, is characterized by
variegated backgrounds, draperies, posed figures, and a pervasive
darkness stylish in metropolitan and provincial painting during the
Baroque era. As his career continued, he less and less differentiated
the picture into foreground and background, and his picture sur-
faces became increasingly dominated by areas of untinted gesso and
the purely decorative red wedges ("chili pods") that gave him his
earlier descriptive name "The Chili Painter." The anatomy of his sub-
jects also became more stylized and notational as he grew older.
By the time he arrived at what Boyd called his "abbreviated man-
ner of drawing figures— a shorthand presentation which is more
like a code than a human image," he thoroughly exemplifies "the
28 SANTOS AND SAINTS
deliberate preference among folk artists of New Mexico for the two-
dimensional treatment of the picture plane when painting on a flat
One of the most recognizable features of Molleno's style is his
treatment of the beards of male figures in three-quarter presenta-
tions: the farther side is a single, nearly straight very heavy line.
Larry Frank suggested that this technique achieves a three-
dimensionality that is neither geometric nor aerial but more like
modern cartooning. 14 This insight very perceptively points out the
draftsman-like rather than painterly nub of santero art: the black
lines carry the picture, for the colors, rarely shaded, fill in
previously-structured areas rather than form them in a painterly
The "Quill Pen Santero," probably a Molleno disciple, regularly
used an ink-pen made from a feather to draw the finer lines of his
design, switching to brushes when he added the colors. He occa-
sionally used Indian design motifs of the type used on Pueblo
Pedro Fresquis (1749-1831) was probably the first santero born
in New Mexico. A couple of Baroque traits common in his earlier
work, dark backgrounds and sgraffito (scraping away lines in moist
paint to expose the different-colored surface beneath), disappear
from most of his later pieces. In certain of his panels the tiling is
stylized by being given wavy joints which do not attempt to show
perspective at all; what had been tiling has become merely a space-
filling pattern, much like the stylized flowers that float upon his
backgrounds and suggest that Fresquis had a strong abhorrence
for empty spaces. In many a retablo of his, highly stylized trees
"stand on top of" the pattern of tiling. The trees are sketched so
that they refrain from putting their branches behind the main figure,
for they stand not in a background but rather in the same plane,
or perhaps better, in the same mode of two-dimensionality The
kind of space they fill is to be measured only in the square inches
of the actual gessoed surface, not in the illusory cubic feet of three
SANTO SPACE 2Q
Fresquis occasionally modeled draperies and portions of
anatomy, but in at least one version of the most "pat" picture possi-
ble, a Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, his copying of some Mexican
woodcut or engraving seems uninspired, suggesting a lack of
technical understanding of what the earlier artist was about but still
producing a pleasing variation. Fresquis retained some perception
of Renaissance picture-space, but like some other painters, he never
signed more than his initials to a few of his santos. But he must
have been known and respected, for variations in the style and
quality of pieces attributed to him strongly suggest that he trained
some anonymous students in the techniques of his art. 15
With the next few santeros, we meet the most pleasant santeros
of the latter half (1820-50) of the "classical" period. Jose Aragon and
his followers, especially the Arroyo Hondo artist or artists, and Jose
Rafael Aragon and his followers, especially the anonymous "Santo
Nino Santero," consistently composed pictures that are simple,
uncrowded, pleasingly colored, and very easy to like.
Jose Aragon is said to have been born in Spain, but apart from
the near-certainty of his having at least one apprentice and probably
half a dozen or more, he was not a provincial but a vernacular ar-
tist. He fitted completely into the New Mexican tradition except for
a slightly greater tendency than other painters to work from engrav-
ings and to letter on the retablos and even sign them— often mak-
ing use of the cartouche (another definitely Baroque borrowing that
disappears shortly). His style incorporates cross-hatching, an
engraver's rather than a draftsman's or especially a painter's techni-
que. Even when he seems not to be copying an engraving he
employs cross-hatching in inappropriate places and sometimes pro-
duces rather too busy a design. But in each case the New Mexican
style is absolutely clear, and the translation from the Mexican-
European engraver's idiom to the New Mexican draftsman's is
nearly complete: a weaker tradition has met a stronger, and Aragon
is no more constrained by the provincial's style than Shakespeare
is by Belief orest's or Holinshed's.
In addition to a spread of works attributed to a set of followers
30 SANTOS AND SAINTS
of Jose Aragon, certain works point to a single artist or perhaps a
painter and a carver: the Arroyo Hondo style very likely stemmed
from Jose Aragon's workshop. With the santeros in the Arroyo Hon-
do branch of the Jose Aragon tradition, we move into a different
age because of a significant change in the market for santos. The
production of retablos falls off sharply, since Currier and Ives
lithographs and other inexpensive graphics imported across the
Santa Fe Trail found a readier market than the handmade and
therefore more expensive panels. On the other hand, the produc-
tion of bultos continued unchecked— or even increased— until the
railroad introduced plaster statues, which were too heavy and too
fragile for the Santa Fe Trail wagons. Such santeros as Miguel Her-
rera are not known to have done any retablos, and the two-
dimensional work of most of the others is decidedly inferior in
technique to their carvings, which maintain as high a level as ever.
The painting moves hereafter in two different directions. Under
the impact of the new prints flooding into the territory, retablos
become notably fewer in number, and the few that are made tend
either to become provincial or to revert to the near-primitive. 16
Jose Benito Ortega lived in the Mora County town of La Cueva, near
Mora, until he moved to Raton in 1907, took wage work, and pretty
much retired as a santero. His retablos and those of his contem-
poraries push so far in the direction of stylized notation that some
of them remind the viewer of Matisse's paintings with their
deliberate denial of a third dimension in favor of achieving
decorative values and maintaining an integral picture-surface: the
figures shatter into many equidistant planes of total depthlessness.
However, the energy that failed to go into painting released itself
into marvelous sculpture. Some of the most powerful New Mex-
ican bultos date from the period between the flourishing of the
Santa Fe Trail and the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad with its box-
cars full of statues. Ortega's bultos are splendid witness to this
energy. Though the hands leave something to be desired and the
feet often look comical to us in their stylish factory-made high-
topped shoes— Nuestra Sehora de Pansy Yokum— the faces are ex-
pressive of an exalted saintliness, especially those of his passion-
tide virgins and his hieratic crucifixes. There is enough variation
'%* . 1
. '■■ i
The Holy Child of Atocha (#7 in Appendix B) by the Santo Nino Santero.
The draftsmanship is simply unearthly. Bequest of Cady Wells to the
Museum of New Mexico, Museum of International Folk Art.
32 SANTOS AND SAINTS
of quality in work attributed to Ortega that he has also been
suspected of having a pupil or two.
The folk bultos of this latter period (1850-1930)— the works of
Ortega, of Jose Ines Herrera, of Juan Ramon Velasquez, and of the
many other sculptors of the era— break free from the archaic xoanon,
the rigid and "frontal" wooden statue whose lines so closely follow
those of original material that a wooden statue resembles in general
shape a piece of firewood. Whereas the more rigid and frontal
statues of the earlier period had tended often to be very lovely, the
trump card of the later period was not honest simplicity but the
literally raw-flesh power of the suffering Christ as as presented in
the crucifixes and Jesus Nazareno bultos made particularly for the
Penitente moradas (chapels). Archaic purity of line gave way to real
hair and teeth, porcelain eyes, and all the possible paraphernalia
of public suffering. 17
Jose Aragon and Jose Rafael Aragon share many many
characteristics, though Rafael Aragon worked later, dying in 1862.
Rafael does not so often sign or letter his paintings as does Jose,
and he seems to use parallel lines more than cross-hatching, thus
suggesting woodcut rather than engraving. He often paints a sup-
port under the halo on a retablo, thereby hinting that he may have
been copying a bulto or at least thinking strongly in terms of the
many exquisite ones he himself fashioned.
Like Jose Aragon and many other santeros of the time, Rafael
Aragon paints almost entirely in two dimensions, rarely attempt-
ing to provide any illusion of a background or to round his figures
except when he adds some slightly excessive attempt at flesh-tones
(encarnacion) in his more finely crafted pieces. The decorative devices
that fill out the panel are highly stylized, especially if they are meant
to be architectural, and so are most of his saints' attributes. But near-
ly always, Rafael Aragon presents his beautiful aristocratic saints
so as to convey each saint's heavenly meaning to the devout mind
rather than the saint's earthly appearance to the physical eye. The
large number of altarscreens Rafael Aragon was invited to create,
each of them representing a major commitment of a community's
SANTO SPACE 33
resources, suggest the high esteem the people of his own day held
him in— an esteem rightly accorded him still today.
The anonymous Santo Nino Santero rounds out the classical
period of santero work. The Santo Nino Santero was very likely
Rafael's follower, somewhat like the shadowy Miguel Aragon, who
was not only Rafael's son but apparently his student and helper
as well. The Santo Nino Santero earned his descriptive name from
his frequent depictions of the Christ Child Lost (El Nino Perdido),
the Christ Child of Atocha, and the Christ Child of Prague. His
retablos are as weird and wonderful as his bultos are lovely; along
with Ortega, the Santo Nino Santero is a perfect instance of mastery
in three dimensions failing to translate even into minimal competen-
cy in two. Other painters of the era, named in Appendix A, differ
little from the other classical santeros except that their backgrounds
tend to be even more undifferentiated, leaving the figure standing
within a painted border in a space of its own, completely incom-
mensurate with real three-dimensional space or any painterly
illusion of it.
Jose de Gracia Gonzales, a native of Guaymas, Sonora, Mex-
ico, migrated into the Pehasco region shortly after the American
Civil War and the Mexican expulsion of the French. He painted in
oil paints, either completely overpainting older santero work as with
the main Trampas altarscreen or painting canvases and panels,
carving and casting statues, and crafting new altarscreens. In the
early 1880s he moved to Trinidad, Colorado, took a railroad job,
and carved and painted intermittently on the side, thereby influ-
encing some southern Colorado santeros.
Thus came the near-end of a great and vital tradition. For more
than two centuries priests born and educated outside the territory
have been getting rid of the native santos from many of New Mex-
ico's churches, especially those in the larger towns, to replace them
with plaster "bathrobe art" from Mexico City, from Saint Louis, or
from Europe. In 1869, the Italian Jesuits at San Felipe Neri Church
in Albuquerque collected money from the parishioners for this pur-
pose, then gave the old bultos away to those donors who wanted
34 SANTOS AND SAINTS
But today more and more people have come to appreciate this
art-form that defied most of the most holy canons of nineteenth-
century European-American art because it operated with a different
space-conception than that of academic art, a space conception
worth our further examination.
No tile was made or used in traditional New Mexico, so tile-
patterns that the New Mexican santeros copied from imported im-
ages soon became mere stylizations, depicting not the everyday
world that the santero and his customers inhabited but the special
mode of otherworldly space where the God, the angels, and the
saints dwelt. Because tiling had no counterpart in their actual ex-
perience, the santeros betrayed a good deal about their conception
of space in handling it. Their tile-lines never converge to a vanishing
point so as to generate true Renaissance perspective.
In the typical retablo of the classical period, painting other than
the border and the main figure or figures is not to be taken as
background or foreground so much as space-filling— elements
added to balance the composition, which may have more attributes
of the saint on one side than the other. The background was near-
ly always painted after the figure was drawn in, further evidence
of the linear rather than painterly New Mexican approach. The after-
thought status of the saint's surroundings (together with the seem-
ing practice of working from the bottom area on one side of the
figure around it to the other bottom area) results in many incon-
sistencies even apart from those of tiling, so that a retablo may
present a stylized landscape of bumps, trees, and flowers to the left
of the figure and a purely decorative pattern of curlicues to the right,
or it may present a stylized tile pattern to the left and a piece of what
seems to be plowed ground to the right.
Parallel lines and crosshatching have been mentioned above
as a modeling and decorative device, especially in painting
derivative from woodcuts and engravings; in some New Mexican
retablos, these techniques serve to depict the scales of serpents and
monsters, especially in representations of San Miguel. But though
the pattern generally begins from the left of the beast and fills itself
SANTO SPACE 35
out cogently and carefully, it usually becomes perfunctory and
casual and ends up supplying the wrong modeling entirely Other
than this, crosshatching and parallel lines are used very often merely
Another instance of the non-Renaissance quality of New Mex-
ican painting is the almost total absence of stop-action painting—
of scenes presented as if a still camera had caught a "slice of life/'
one crucial moment of an important event in a saint's earthly career.
Perhaps only Fresquis' Santa Apolonia in the International Folk Art
Collection has such implicit narrative appeal: the wicked soldier
is caught in the act of wrenching the saint's teeth out with a great
pliers. By contrast, any depiction of the Flight into Egypt is filled
with peace and repose; the Holy Family is not hurrying to escape
from the dread pursuit of Herod's soldiers. Granted Santiago's bran-
dished spear and granted his horse's lifted forefoot, the warrior-
saint is not engaged in mortal combat; the Moors are not his deadly
enemies but only his inert attributes. 19
We have judged the painting mainly by the criterion of the loss
of three-dimensional illusion. E. Boyd wrote:
In little more than one generation three-
dimensional painting was discarded for the single pic-
ture plane, linear composition, and static rather than
animated poses. Narrative compositions were also
discarded. Iconographic elements were retained in
nearly abstract form, and the folk artists developed
styles comparable to those of medieval or preGothic
Europe. While this was an anachronism in the nine-
teenth-century western world it was not in New Mex-
ico where austerity and hazards of living were in many
ways comparable to those of the middle ages. 20
The foregoing corroborates this quotation and suggests a further
synthesis: The move from Renaissance perspective into non-
Renaissance modes is a consequence of the inability of the ver-
nacular tradition to retain what the provisional tradition of Mex-
ican Baroque had tried falteringly to teach it, namely, the primacy
36 SANTOS AND SAINTS
of the individual eye which judges reality from a fixed point of view
in a single instant of time. Visual realism of the sort that was natural
for the highly literate, print-oriented, historical-minded Renaissance
culture gave way to the conception of space and time appropriate
to the post-literate, non-historically-aware culture of traditional New
New Mexican art also transcends or at least evades time by its
lack of caught motion and of narrative appeal. The statue or paint-
ing does not really tell an event of earthly time or show the ap-
pearance of an earthly being. It presents instead the eternal
condition that has resulted from historical holiness. New Mexican
retablos share with Byzantine icons and Romanesque and Gothic
painting the tendency to represent Heaven as some depthless two-
dimensional habitat of the saint or blessed, but it differs from icons
and Gothic art by retaining firmly the abstraction from wall (or bowl
or earth or shield or body) which we have referred to as picture-
space. Just as the pre-literate Pueblo Indians abstracted pottery from
storage-cyst and abstracted house from pit-dwelling, so the slight-
ly more visual post-literate Spanish clung to the decidedly more
visual Renaissance abstraction which first appeared as easel paint-
ing. Thus, due to the geographical isolation and the consequent
loss of all need and aptitude for three-dimensional illusion,
nineteenth-century New Mexico retablo painting united in its
unique combination of approaches to space the Renaissance and
the primitive traditions of art; and by pure accident it anticipated
cubism and other modern styles of art that have trained even us
Anglos to appreciate the work of these Spanish-American masters
of deftness and strength.
1. Marianne S toller, "The Early Santeros of New Mexico: A Problem in
Ethnic Identity and Artistic Tradition," paper delivered to the American Socie-
ty of Ethnohistory, Albuquerque, 9 October 1976, 32, 36, 46-57, makes a plausi-
ble case that early santeros Pedro Fresquis, the anonymous Laguna Santero, and
Antonio Molleno were significantly Native American. (The anonymous Quill
Pen Santero, likely a Molleno disciple, used quite a few design motifs like those
SANTO SPACE 37
on Pueblo pottery.) But whatever the santeros' degree of Native American ethnic
inheritance, Stoller notes, santos still belong to the Hispanic tradition of religious
culture— which of course the Pueblos adhered to along with their own religion.
2. William Wroth, Christian Images in Hispanic New Mexico (Colorado
Springs: Taylor Museum of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 1982), 35-39.
3. Carey McWilliams, North from Mexico (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1949),
4. Christine R. Mather, "Religious Folk Art in New Mexico," in Jean Stern,
ed., The Cross and the Sword (San Diego: Fine Arts Society, 1976), 24.
Of course culture is a human product. But the first three great eras of Western
culture, the primitive (tribal), the classical (urban), and the medieval, emerged
neither from reflective human awareness nor from free choices based on such
awareness. By contrast, the Renaissance was reflective, thematic, and deliberate
in origin, for it grew both out of men's historical knowledge of two previous
periods, the classical and the medieval, and out of their deliberate choice of the
former and rejection of the latter. At that moment, the human race began know-
ingly and freely to choose its cultural destiny— a circumstance that gave rise to
the "headiness" and sense of control that marked the High Renaissance.
5. Fray Angelico Chavez, "Genfzaros," in Handbook of North American In-
dians: The Southwest, Alfonso Ortiz, ed. (Washington: Smithsonian, 1979),
6. Wroth, Christian Images, 25.
7. Stephen Sharbrough, "El Ciclo de los Pastores," History of Religions at
UCLA Newsletter?, (1975), 7-11; E. Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish New Mexico (San-
ta Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1974), 377, 381, 384, and Francis A. Sullivan,
S.J., "The Hidden Madonna of Laguna Pueblo," lmmaculata (January 1978), 22-24;
Fray Angelico Chavez, Our Lady of the Conquest (Santa Fe: Historical Society of
New Mexico, 1948); Stephen F. de Borhegyi, "El Santuario de Chimayo" (Santa
Fe:. Spanish Colonial Arts Society, 1956), the six finding stories on 17-19.
8. Thomas E. Chavez, "The Segesser Hide Paintings: History, Discovery,
Art," El Palacio 92 #2 (Winter 1986), 18-27, and "History Comes Home," El Palacio
95 #1 (Fall-Winter 1989), 44-49; Chavez, ed., Segesser Anthology (Santa Fe: Museum
of New Mexico Press, 1994); Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish New Mexico, 116-43;
Wroth, Christian Images, 47-50.
9. See Alexander von Wuthenau, "The Spanish Military Chapels in Santa
Fe and the Reredos of Our Lady of Light," New Mexico Historical Review 10 (1936),
179-94; Eleanor B. Adams, "The Chapel and Cofradfa of Our Lady of Light in
Santa Fe," New Mexico Historical Review 22 (1947), 327-41; and Pal Kelemen, "The
Significance of the Stone Retablo of Cristo Rey," El Palacio 61 (1954), 243-72.
10. The citations for all of my cursory history of New Mexican santeros will
be found in Appendix A.
The first synoptic view of santero styles appeared in Jose Edmundo Espinosa's
"The Discovery of the Bulto-maker Ramon Velasquez of Canjilon," El Palacio 61
(1954), 185-90. While writing the first edition of this work and down to the pre-
sent, I have especially relied on E. Boyd's work, especially the 1969 Museum of
38 SANTOS AND SAINTS
New Mexico International Folk Art exhibit "The New Mexico Santero/' the ac-
companying El Palacio article "The New Mexico Santero," (76, 1 [Spring 1969],
1-24, also issued as a booklet), the subsequent magnum opus Popular Arts of Spanish
New Mexico, and E's gracious and generous personal help.
11 . Christine Mather, Baroque to Folk (Santa Fe : Museum of New Mexico In-
ternational Folk Art Museum, 1980), esp. 15-16.
12. Yvonne Lange conjectured that early santero art was modeled on the
inexpensive woodcuts of the eighteenth century, not on the more expensive et-
chings and engravings of that period or on nineteenth-century lithographs
because the latter were too sophisticated for New Mexican santeros to follow;
"Lithography, an Agent of Technological Change in Religious Folk Art," Western
Folklore 33 (1974), 51-64, and 'Tn Search of San Acacio: The Impact of Industrializa-
tion on Santos Worldwide," El Palacio 94, 1 (Summer-Fall 1988), 18-24. As a possi-
ble extension of that thesis, let me speculate that the early New Mexican santeros
made gesso-relief panels in an attempt to retain some of the three-dimensionality
of the better eighteenth-century graphics from Europe and New Spain. But as
Lange makes clear, in the long run the simpler woodcuts and other popular prints
13. Boyd, "The New Mexico Santero," 11-12.
14. Conversation of May 1969; New Kingdom of the Saints, 85, 87.
15. A love of the theater may have led Fresquis to depict a number number
of rare subjects that appeared in the religious folk drama of the era: The Flight
into Egypt, Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Veronica's Triple Rostro, San
Longino, Nuestra Sehora de la Manga, and the Mass of St. Gregory.
16. Following up on note 12, another addendum to Yvonne Lange's thesis
might go like this: About twenty-five years after the Santa Fe Trail opened up,
retablo painting tapered off due (1) to the excessive sophistication of the
lithographs as models— too hard for the santeros to follow, and (2) to the abun-
dance of inexpensive prints which undersold and simply preempted the market
for new retablos ("economic factors," 57 in the Western Folklore article). There were
some early borrowings from the lithographs— swags of drapery and pedestals
(New Kingdom of the Saints, 212, plate 189) and some deflection into bultos with
niche-like body-halos to compensate for the deep-background illusion the
lithographs presented by their realistic depictions of architecture, statuary, and
17. Compare Gerardus van der Leeuw, Sacred and Profane Beauty (London:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1963), 178: "In a work of art, religion fears the presence
of an idol, and with good cause. Therefore, 'the rough and ugly image is of more
service to it than the beautiful one; it does not draw the spirit out into the fullness
of the world, where it can enjoy itself in freedom, but throws it back upon itself
with a violent shove.' For this reason the Greeks preferred the xoanon [rigidly
non-realistic statue] to the works of art of one of their great masters."
18. Sister Lilliana Owens, S.L., Jesuit Beginnings in New Mexico, 1867-1882 (El
Paso: Revista Catolica Press, 1950), 117; Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Works and Days:
A History of San Felipe Neri Church, 1867-1895 (Albuquerque: Albuquerque
SANTO SPACE 3Q
Museum, 1983), 69, 104. A descendant of Don Ambrosio Armijo and Dona
Candelaria Griego de Armijo still has the Nuestra Senora de los Dolores, a late-
eighteenth-century Mexican hollow-frame bulto.
Noting that the prevailing wisdom half a century ago held that the ejection
of santos from the church was "credited to some sort of order from Bishop Lamy"
Willard Hougland concludes that "there is no proof" that such an order ever ex-
isted; "Santos — 1948," Saints of the band (Santa Fe: San Vicente Foundation, 1948),
6. Indeed, neither the purported document nor any reference to it has been
discovered up to the present.
Following up on notes 12 and 16, a final grace-note to Lange's thesis: about
a quarter of a century after the arrival of the railroad (1879-80), bulto-making
tapered off except for the specialties made for morada processions and dramatiza-
tions. Hence from the 1910s to the 1960s (with the exception of the brief W.P. A.
revival of the 1930s) santo-making shrank to unpainted bultos, with very few
retablos being made except unpainted low-relief panels.
19. For a long recital of particular examples, the reader is referred to pages
19-25 of the earlier editions of Santos and Saints.
20. Boyd, "New Mexico Folk Arts in Art History," El Palacio 72 (1965), 12.
Saint Isidore the Farmer (#89 in Appendix B) by Jose Benito Ortega. The tininess
of oxen and angel, mere attributes of the saint, indicates Isidro's relative im-
portance. Bequest of Cady Wells to the Museum of New Mexico, Museum of
International Folk Art. Art.
The Holy Persons
God, Virgin, Angels, Saints
13 etween the late eighteenth century and the beginning of the
I twentieth, New Mexican santeros depicted a hundred and
sixty-odd subjects that fall into five main groups: (1) the divine
persons— God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit; (2) Mary ac-
cording to various titles or advocations; (3) the angels; (4) the male
and female saints; and (5) the impersonal and allegorical sub-
jects. 1 Examination of the four groups of holy persons leads me to
conclude that, with rare but important exceptions as noted, these
subjects operate at three levels of human need: the divine persons
act in a preserve of their own, that of eternal salvation, the Virgin
and the angels act in a middle realm, and the saints take care of
more earthly needs.
The Trinity and most titles of the adult Christ tend to be strongly
associated with general and transcendent needs. The people of New
Mexico commonly prayed to the Trinity, for instance, for enlighten-
ment, favors of immediate need, thanksgiving, faith, harmony and
peace, and protection against all temptations and all enemies.
42 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Granted always the concrete character of the person's present need,
only in prayers for protection from storms and from 'locusts, earth-
quakes, and famine" is the request particularized; it is as if the Chris-
tian collective unconscious remembers the elemental thunder-
and-lightning sky-god who lies slightly beneath the surface of
Genesis, Exodus, and some of the older psalms. Indeed, when the
Trinity is represented as three men's heads sprouting from a single
torso or as three equal men standing or sitting side by side, they
are often shown grasping a single bar, which is both a symbol of
unity-in-multiplicity and a literal (if stylized) lightning bolt. 2 The
general and transcendent nature of the power of Christ, as the New
Mexican people understood it during the last century, is suggested
as well by petitions concerning the salvation of the world, accep-
tance of suffering, faith, pardon for sins, sanctity, "all needs," and
a peaceful death.
God the Father, the Holy Family (Joseph and Mary flanking the
child Jesus, a kind of alternate earthly trinity), and the Sacred Heart
tended to foster and protect the family. The most popular of the
three, the Holy Family, was keyed most strongly to the needs
of the family; the Sacred Heart was seldom represented by the
santeros. 3 God the Father and Saint Joseph are strong father
Certain representations of Christ are connected with the devo-
tional practices of the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus. That ex-
piatory confraternity practiced severe penances for the sins of all
the people of their village, and on Good Friday they sometimes
reenacted the crucifixion of Christ by tying one of the Brothers to
the full-sized cross he had carried to their "Calvary." Especially apt
to have strong or exclusive Brotherhood interest are Jesus Burdened
with the Cross, Jesus the Nazarene, and the crucifix that emphasizes
the wounds and blood, particularly if they are large statues with
hinged shoulders that can be put through the various actions of
the Passion like nearly-lifesized puppets. At any rate, these artifacts
were intimately related to the Brothers' concerns, and in them Christ
probably took on much of the father-figure status that is suggested
by their title for him as patron of their confraternity, Nuestro Padre
Jesus Nazareno. It may be possible to read this protective, pater-
THE HOLY PERSONS 43
nal status into the Sacred Heart images just mentioned.
Christ as a child appears with his mother in various of her titles,
with his parents in the Flight into Egypt and Holy Family tableaux,
and by himself as the Santo Nino, the Santo Nino de Atocha, the
Nino Perdido, and the Nino de Praga. When Christ appears as an
infant with Mary, he is an attribute of his mother rather than a sub-
ject in his own right. In the Holy Family and Flight into Egypt
representations, the child is inserted into a family constellation as
the son (though of course "secret-father" and "hidden-life" associa-
tions complicate the son-archetype a great deal). Especially as Nino
de Atocha and Nino Perdido, the Christ Child operates as a figure
in his own right, the patron of travelers, of those who are lost, and
especially of those who are held captive by Indians. As such he
seems a younger-brother figure.
When he is an adult, by contrast, Christ participates fully in
the transcendence of the godhead. By his passion and death, he
causes the sacramental actions of his Church on earth and the
resulting supernatural transformations of believers, and thereby he
is the source of life everlasting. Hence the people of New Mexico
call him Nuestro Padre Jesus. 4
TITLES OF MARY
The Madonna occupied in nineteenth-century New Mexican
piety a position superior to that of the angels and saints but not
equal to that of the Father or Christ. She was not deified, but she
was regarded as superior to any other created person, for she was
a personage of great power, not a sentimental figure of mere mater-
nal good wishes.
Specific requests connect with various titles. Our Lady of the
Angels (Nuestra Sehora de los Angeles) did assume a certain mater-
nal aspect by implication, since angels were traditionally associated
with the particular care of children, becoming as it were their power-
ful elder foster-brothers and indeed generally assisting all Chris-
tians of all ages. Our Lady of the Candlesticks (Nuestra Sehora de
las Candelarias) was associated with blessed candles and with Lent,
and hence perhaps with the activity of the penitential
Brotherhood. 5 The Immaculate Conception (Nuestra Sehora de la
44 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Purfsima Conception) tended to be associated with purity, Our
Lady of Help (Nuestra Senora del Socorro) with curing illnesses,
and Our Lady of the Rosary (Nuestra Senora del Rosario) with con-
solation in bereavement. On the other hand, certain titles of Our
Lady such as Our Lady Refuge of Sinners (Nuestra Senora Refugio
de Pecadores) seem to have had penitential Brotherhood connec-
tions, and Our Lady of Sorrows (Nuestra Senora de los Dolores)
and Our Lady of Solitude (Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, Mary
dressed as a nun after the death of Christ) took a leading role in
the Brothers' reenactments of the Passion. Nuestra Senora de la
Soledad is Our Lady as crone, as daughter, wife, and mother now
orphaned, widowed, and childless, and so she is the powerful
patron and model of elderly women living alone.
In certain of her forms, Our Lady took on the function of con-
trolling monsters. In this role, she appeared under the titles of Our
Lady of Angels, of Mount Carmel, of Light, of the Immaculate Con-
ception, and (by implication, as has been said) of Guadalupe. The
first four Madonnas are all shown overcoming dangers of various
sorts on behalf of mankind. Our Lady of Angels and of the Im-
maculate Conception appear with serpents at their feet to symbolize
their power over the devil; Our Lady of Light draws a soul (an
unclothed or scantily clothed young person) from the mouth of a
monster; and Our Lady of Mount Carmel helps souls that are
trapped in the flames of Purgatory. In general, these titles deal with
the human fear of being trapped in close confinement of any sort,
and in the Catholic setting of last-century New Mexican piety they
clearly suggest death, devils, and hell. The whale-like monster of
Our Lady of Light retablos is in effect the same whale that swal-
lowed Jonah in the Old Testament and which as a sign of death
formed the "sign of Jonah" in the New (Matthew 12:39; Luke 11:29).
Along with the snakes and flames, it is akin to the lion which Carl
Jung says is "an emblem of the devil and stands for the danger of
being swallowed by the unconscious," and which Erich Neumann
says "bears all the marks of the uroboros. It is masculine and
feminine at once. The fight with the dragon is thus the fight with
the First Parents, a fight in which the murders of both father and
mother, but not of one alone, have their ritually prescribed
THE HOLY PERSONS 45
place." 6 These activities of Nuestra Senora suggest gender rever-
sal, for she performs the task of conquering monsters usually
assigned to male figures.
Whether in her own person or through her close association
with the suffering Christ, Our Lady in certain of her titles saves
the petitioner from monsters. In one of the alabados, the great
hymns of Hispanic New Mexico especially dear to the penitential
Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene, Our Lady of
Solitude is addressed as follows:
your power is so great
Against the wicked Satan
That you save the souls
From eternal fire. . . .
If to Purgatory our colleagues go,
We pray you, oh Mary,
That you immediately save them.
The Virgin of Mount Carmel is shown in santero art holding her
scapular, a religious badge of cloth and ribbons and worn around
the neck in dedication to the SeNora de Monte Carmen. An alaban-
za addresses her thus:
Your scapular is the
With which the big dragon
Can be bound.
In alabanzas sung to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, por-
trayed by the santeros standing either on a serpent or on a cres-
cent moon, these stanzas occur:
From that most cruel snake
That aims to destroy us
You must deliver us ... .
Being the most loved daughter
Of the beloved Eternal Father,
Deliver us from Hell ....
46 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Satan finds himself
In greater pains,
Since Mary binds him
With stronger chains. 7
Thus the Lady stands very conspicuously to the forefront in the
scheme of salvation according to New Mexican folk theology, but
she does not so much provide the positive benefits as remove the
dangers, Satan and Hell and their various serpent and monster
The angel in New Mexican santero art serves as God's
messenger or his theophany, and he is associated with lightning,
serpents, and a quite ambiguous masculinity. Four angels appear
in New Mexican folk art: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and the Guar-
dian Angel. San Gabriel and the Guardian Angel are infrequently
represented; of the nine Gabriels, five were originally attached to
crucifixes, holding a cup under the wound in the side of the dead
Christ. 8 Rafael is clearly a soul-guide (psychopempsos) as in the
Book of Tobit, where he served as traveling companion, guardian
against monsters, and healer for the humans in his care.
San Miguel Arcangel's iconography defines him as a military
guardian battling against evil and especially against the devil. This
function derives from the Apocalypse of the New Testament:
''Michael and his angels fought against the dragon" (Rev. 12:7), and
manifests itself in the usual depiction of Michael standing on a
serpent— in New Mexico, often a giant rattlesnake— treading it
down as Guadalupe does her moon and angel. It is interesting to
speculate that in this characteristic Michael joins the Blessed Mother
under the titles of Angels, Light, Mount Carmel, Immaculate Con-
ception, and Guadalupe in being a specific protector against cosmic
dangers— devils, Hell, the irruption of the unconscious, the fear-
some unknown agencies that most people prefer not to think about.
That Michael and Mary work together against these forces is strong-
ly suggested by the lettering on a Fresquis retablo of the archangel:
"Lord Saint Michael, First Colonel of the Squadron of Most Holy
Mary, Defend Us." 9
THE HOLY PERSONS 47
THE MALE AND FEMALE SAINTS
The majority of the santo subjects are male and female saints,
holy men and women from earlier days of the Christian era— and
some few from the Old Testament period— down to the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries. By and large, these saints prove to be
far less generalized and transcendent in their function than are most
of the titles of God and Christ, and far less concerned with pro-
tection from cosmic evil than the archangels and the titles of Our
Lady studied above.
There is almost no monster material among these saints. There
are three exceptions to this rule: Giles, Jerome, and Ignatius Loyola.
San Gil Atenogenes (Aegidius, Giles born in Athens), shown in
the few santos of him that are extant with a doe that took refuge
with him when it was pursued by hunters, sometimes appears to
be in the company of a monster of some sort, since the "doe" has
often been metamorphosed into a misshapen, deformed creature.
San Geronimo is almost always shown with a lion at his feet,
following a European convention of iconography where the lion
was a benevolent animal because the saint had removed a thorn
from his paw, and so in gratitude it acted as wrangler for the
monastery's donkey. The application of the traditional Androclus-
and-the-lion tale to Jerome suggests a reversal of the division be-
tween man and animal that began with the original sin; this kind
of story is to be expected in connection with founders of religious
orders, who have restored Eden, reconciled men and women with
God, among themselves, and with subhuman nature. But New
Mexican santeros were so unfamiliar with lions that the beasts soon
turned into monsters, so Jerome became a monster-controller as
well as a patron of penance. Further, the trumpet of God's voice
sounding in his ear has sometimes been identified as the archangel
Gabriel's trumpet announcing the end of the world, and one
respondent identified Jerome as patron of orphaned children, a task
assigned to angels; if there is anything to either of these interpreta-
tions, then the angelic associations could reinforce the saint's status
as protector from diabolical forces.
San Ignacio de Loyola became for New Mexican Spanish of past
centuries a protector against witchcraft. This power derives from
48 SANTOS AND SAINTS
an earlier version of his biography and his powers still popular only
in New Mexico, where he still defends his clients against the threat
of witchcraft. He is also credited, strangely, with founding or at least
organizing the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus.
Certain of the advocations of Christ and Mary are special
patrons for the penitential Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the
Nazarene. A fair number of ordinary saints possess similar associa-
tions. The mythical Saint Acatius and St. Liberata were both sup-
posed to have been crucified, and so they participated (in a
folk-Platonic manner) in the crucifixion of the Lord. 10 Saint Philip
of Jesus was tied to a cross and then killed with spears. Longinus,
whose name derived from the Greek word for a lance, was tradi-
tionally assigned to the centurion at Christ's death who "with a
spear pierced his side, and straightway there came out blood and
water" (John 19:34). Saint Veronica (name and story both folkloric)
was the woman who wiped the face of Christ on the Way of the
Cross and found that he had left an imprint (or three imprints) of
his face on the cloth.
Saint John Nepomucene and Raymond Nonnatus were the
Brothers' patrons of privacy and secrecy, San Juan because he was
drowned for refusing to reveal to the wicked king of Bohemia the
contents of the queen's confession, San Ramon because his cap-
tors padlocked his lips shut when he refused to stop preaching
while in Moorish slavery. 11 Saints Rita of Cascia, Rosalia of Paler-
mo, and Jerome (the last little thought of in New Mexico as a scholar
and doctor of the church) were noted for their practice of penance.
Saint Francis of Assisi is regularly shown with the skull and stigmata
connecting him with the Passion, and he was the major patron of
the penitential Brotherhood; the birds and bunnies are twentieth-
century romantic substitutions for his authentic attributes. Saint
Peter was a special patron of a happy death, and the Brothers seem
to have had an exclusive interest in Doha Sebastiana, an allegorical
image of death as a skeletal woman seated in a cart to be found in
every morada a century ago. 13
Other saints aided the New Mexican vecinos in their unending
struggle with a recalcitrant earth. "Can we even begin to realize,"
asks J.H. Plumb,
THE HOLY PERSONS
Saint Isidore the Farmer (#89 in Appendix B) by Luis Aragon. This later santero,
who died in 1977, worked mainly in natural woods. Regis University Collection.
50 SANTOS AND SAINTS
the anxiety of an agrarian society which lived on the
margin of existence, dependent entirely upon the
whims of weather? One year may be an abundance, a
glut of food, for all; and the next year maybe with
crops shrivelled or blackened on the stalk; starvation
certain for all and death for the old, the weak, and the
young. And yet this is how our ancestors lived in
Western Europe and Africa. The vast majority never
knew security in their basic needs. The average span of
life in Elizabethan England was twenty-six, less than
the poorest and most famine-ridden Indian peasant of
today The pot bellies and protruding eyes of starving
children were more a part of the Elizabethan scene
Such fears about the harvest bred anxiety, heighten-
ed fear, and made the peasant hysterical, hag-ridden
with fearsome specters. The terrors of hell, of Ar-
mageddon, of sorcery, of witchcraft, of devilment
everywhere abounded. 14
Even bracketing all the preternatural terrors, the natural obstacles
to subsistence and survival were ample in the New Mexico of the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to keep the saints
busy. Fostering the crops was particularly the job of Saint Isidore
of Madrid, the year-round patron of farmers, but Lawrence gave
him some temporary help during the month of August.
A central component of the food-raising efforts of the New Mex-
ican peasant communities of the last centuries was the communal
irrigation system, a feature of every Spanish and Pueblo village.
Saint John Nepomucene suffered martyrdom by drowning, and
therefore he became the patron of the communal work of ditching
and irrigating which was so important in sustaining the village. In
like manner, Saint John the Baptist, whose epithet suggests water,
was the patron of water in all its forms, and on his feast day in June
all the water in the world became purified of all disease.
The New Mexicans were herders as well as farmers, and their
cattle and sheep needed several special patrons. Santa Ines del
Campo (Saint Agnes of Benigamin) is an Artemis-Diana figure, a
THE HOLY PERSONS 51
patroness of purity, of the outdoors, and especially of sheep and
shepherds (perhaps because of the likeness of 'Agnes" to the Latin
word for lamb, agnus). Santa Ines is shown in santero art with some
lambs in the background, and she thus resembles Our Lady as a
Shepherdess (Nuestra Sehora como Pastora or La Divina Pastora).
Saint Anthony of Padua and Saint John the Baptist also seem to
have served as patrons for all domesticated animals. For horses and
mares and for men and women riding horses, Saint James and Saint
Anne were the patrons, Santiago because he always appears on
horseback in santero art, Santa Ana because her feast day falls on
26 July, the day after Santiago's. Saint Pascual Bay Ion, due to his
having worked as a shepherd before he joined a religious order,
served as patron of shepherds and sheep.
Until the First World War, a great many New Mexican villagers
lived in an unmechanized agrarian world much like that of the
Chinese peasants described by Fred Cottrell:
The size of farm that can be worked by a man and his
wife alone is too small to support a family. As a result
children must work; in the absence of children the
older adults will starve . . Economic reciprocity between
parents and children tends to become a necessity in
societies that are dependent on organic converters.
Children supply in these areas what is secured in in-
dustrial societies through unemployment, health, and
disability insurance, and old-age allowances. Parents
develop in the child values that will ensure their own
Hence in New Mexican villages, strong family ties, obedience of
young children to their parents in the prime of their lives, and
generosity of grown children to their aged parents were very im-
portant values, and so the saints served often as patrons and sup-
porters of the traditional family values of the agrarian world.
God the Father and Saint Joseph, frequently in New Mexico
accorded the epithet "Patriarca— patriarch," have been mentioned
already as father-figures, and the Sacred Heart and the Holy Family
were patrons of the entire family. In addition to these four subjects,
Santa Ana is the patroness of mothers and grandmothers, the lat-
52 SANTOS AND SAINTS
ter an extremely important function in an extended family. Saint
Rita of Cascia, although she was the victim of an unhappy mar-
riage unwillingly entered into (she had wanted to become a nun),
is patroness of young women in need of a husband; Anthony of
Padua and Rosalie of Palermo aid a young woman in the selection
of a husband, and Rosalie is also the patroness of engaged couples.
Ines especially guards the purity of young girls, and Mary
Magdalene aids the unchaste to repent and reform. Saint Raymond
Nonnatus, a Caesarian birth from a dead mother as his name sug-
gests, is patron of the unborn, of women during pregnancy and
childbirth, and of midwives. Saints Stanislaus and Aloysius Gon-
zaga, boy saints of the Jesuit order, are patrons of growing children
along with Philip of Jesus and Gertrude.
In a society which had to rely on the most primitive sorts of
folk medicine, the people often called on the saints for help in com-
bating illness. In this wide field a number of the saints became very
definitely specific to certain definite disorders or areas of the body.
Thus Saint Roch protects against troubles of the skin, plague, and
especially smallpox; Saint Rosalie of Palermo defended her devotes
against the plague. Saint Blaise guards against throat trouble, Saint
Apollonia against toothache, Saint Lucy against disease of the eye.
Saint Lawrence, who was burned to death, protects from burns,
and Saint Barbara guards persons against lightning. Thus the New
Mexico saints fend off the most important threats to the health of
In summary, the santero subjects who save their clients from
monsters occupy a kind of middle position within the complex
structure of the New Mexico Spanish patronage system. Above
these subjects are the Trinity, God the Father, the Spirit, and the
adult Christ in his passion. Beneath them are the ordinary saints
who deal with more natural, less ultimate, less heroic matters.
The protectors from monsters that have been isolated for study
are Our Lady under the titles Angeles, Carmen, Guadalupe, Luz,
and Purfsima Concepcion; the archangels Miguel and Rafael; and
the saints Geronimo, Gil, and Ignacio. The count of these ten fair-
THE HOLY PERSONS 53
ly popular subjects from my study of a thousand santos reveals a
total of 189, with 44 from the earliest period, 110 from the 1815-1850
era, and 22 from the concluding period of santero folk art; another
thirteen cannot be assigned to a period. Omitting this last group
of 13, we find that 12.5% of the santos representing monster-saviors
derive from the concluding period, though 17.9% of the total sam-
ple does. The lessening demand for these santos probably suggests
the better protection from such real danger as roving Indians that
resulted early on from improved Santa Fe Trail trade and later from
the protective presence of the United States Army. But the protec-
tor saints may have lost a lot of their popularity because of the newly
introduced Anglo world-view, which took a self-confident and op-
timistic attitude toward the human condition in this world. This
attitude tended to scoff at villagers' global fearfulness and their
tendency to interpret the course of daily events as being largely
governed by the power of devils and witches.
It may be that when these fears disappeared, they did not so
much cease to exist as lower their profile. Robert Bellah, writing
in the classic People ofRimrock, suggests as much: "Belief in the devil,
witches, and ghosts is strong in Atrisco [San Rafael in Cibola Coun-
ty] ... . These beliefs are strongest in women and are in some
degree a projection of the fear of possible sexual attack by males. "
And Ari Kiev, studying the psychological aspects of Texas-Mexican
curanderismo, corroborates Robert Bellah when he says, 'There are
a number of standardized and culturally acceptable objects of fear
such as ghosts, witches and snakes. They provide individuals with
ready-made, culturally acceptable fears, thus reducing the need to
develop idiosyncratic fears and phobias." 16 The survival of such
fears, taken together with the decline of traditional santo-making,
points to the breakdown of the coherent system of patron saints
attuned to the principal hopes and fears of traditional society. When
large numbers of printed pictures of saints to whom no veneration
had been paid before arrived in Santa Fe Trail wagons, they under-
cut the demand for painted retablos, and when plaster statues of
saints previously unvenerated in New Mexico arrived on the
railroad, they undercut the demand for bultos. But equally, this
plethora of new saints destroyed the inner coherence of the old
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Saint George (#91 in Appendix B) by Luis Aragon. Compare this rare subject with
the illustration on page 17 of Willard Hougland, American Primitive Art. Regis
THE HOLY PERSONS 55
system of patrons of hopes and protectors against fears.
Finally, what is to be made of the relative status of the various
personages who made up this old system, as they appeared to the
people of the time? George Mills and Richard Grove, writing about
the penitential Brotherhood, offer a starting point for answering
this question for the wider culture:
The saints and holy figures link human needs, God's
transcendence, and the recalcitrancy of human nature.
In the Spanish-American view, the saints function in a
special way, leaving God an aloof, inscrutable, and un-
predictable authority. Numerous stories suggest that
the saints have three characteristics: 1) being human-
ized, they are made aware of local conditions as if by
means of human senses, 2) they exercise direct power,
3) their exercise of power may have wrong conse-
A respondent to my questionnaire volunteered that in the view
of the older generations, the saints had independent power in cer-
tain areas given them by God to use as they saw fit.
I would like to suggest that the people fairly clearly differen-
tiated the four groups— the divine persons, the Blessed Mother, the
angels, the saints— into three clusters on the basis of needs, of hopes
and fears, associated principally with each group. As already noted,
these clusterings were perhaps best described in terms of the three
traditional realms of being: the supernatural, the preternatural, and
the natural. Santos representing the Deity— the Trinity, God the
Father, God the Spirit, and the adult Christ in his Passion— were
most at home in granting favors in the realm of the strictly super-
natural, which had to do with faith, charity, holiness, and eternal
happiness. The Christ Child concerned himself with family
coherence, the safety of travelers, the release of prisoners, the return
of those who had gotten lost. Whereas a "mature" divine person
served as a father-figure (Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno), the divine
Nino served as a brother figure.
The second level, the preternatural, included first of all Nuestra
Sehora under the various titles that identify her as the one who
50 SANTOS AND SAINTS
saves us from the serpent-devil, with whom she was sharply con-
trasted in the old Roman Catholic translation of Genesis 3:15: "I
will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and
her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for
her heel." But Our Lady also served as a figure of security in a
peasant world in which everywhere one looked was frontier in the
American sense of that word: the vague boundary of all that is un-
bounded, undefined, beset by unknown and unknowable dangers
from demons, imaginary monsters, witches, ghosts, snakes, and
centipedes. And the Sehora also had duties closer to the super-
natural realm, having to do with some of the conditions and occa-
sions of salvation as such. All in all, she was the protective mother
perceived as the strong helper and sturdy defender; there was lit-
tle of the merely sentimental in the New Mexican view of her.
The angels as saviors from monsters protect from preternatural
evil and moreover serve to guide the soul into the afterlife. As the
Virgin is the maternal figure, they are the elder-brother figures, the
protective hermanos mayores of each man's and woman's
pilgrimage through this world and into the next.
The saints were elder brothers and elder sisters to mankind;
even the youngest of them, Stanislaus and Aloysius, Flora and Ines,
were older than the children whose special patrons they were. Their
realm of activity was for the most part restricted to the natural world
of crops and animals and family serenity and health— the less
ultimate, less cosmic, less salvation-oriented matters of the people's
Thus the saints as patrons and protectors summarized quite
coherently and quite completely the New Mexican hopes and fears
of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. These were
the hard-won values of a peasant world surrounded by hostile In-
dians, farming and ranching arid lands in the environs of small
villages, living in family homes adorned with wooden saints. And
these holy persons validated, protected, and enhanced every im-
portant aspect of this life which the people could bring to con-
sciousness, and their roots sank deep into the universal human
psychic substratum so as to unify the experience of their people
THE HOLY PERSONS 57
and form it into the comprehensive, coherent, and meaningful lives
of Catholic Christian men and women.
1. These five groups make up Appendix B. The addendum to Appendix
B lists the thirty most popular subjects.
The questionnaire I circulated to certain selected persons in northern New Mex-
ico, southern Colorado, and the Hispanic neighborhoods of Denver during the
early 1970s requested information concerning eighty subjects from this list; in
the 1974 and 1982 editions of Santos and Saints, the eighty are marked in the
appendix by asterisks.
2. Corroborated by E. Boyd, conversation of 10 August 1972. God the Father
holds such a bolt in the Taylor Museum's #1232, shown in Robert Shalkop, Wooden
Saints (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1967), 55. Although on 54 Shalkop
identifies the item as merely a scepter, I think it is a lightning-bolt used as a sky-
god's power symbol.
On 11 August 1628, Pope Urban VIII forbade the representation of the Trinity
as three male heads sprouting from a single trunk; he quoted the argument of
Antoninus of Florence (Summa Theologica Moralis 22.214.171.124) that "it is a monstrosity
by the very nature of things— quod monstrum est in rerum natura." On 1 Oc-
tober 1745, Benedict XIV repeated this prohibition, allowed the toleration of the
dead Christ in the Father's lap with the Spirit as dove, and decreed that the
representation of the Trinity as three equal men seated side by side should not
be fostered but that it had to be tolerated because God appeared to Abraham
as three angels (Genesis 18); "Sollicitudini Nostrae," # 28. On 16 March 1928, giv-
ing no reasons, the Holy See forbade this last representation; Acta Apostolicae
Sedis 20 (1928), 103. New Mexico seems never to have gotten any of these
messages. See Shalkop, Wooden Saints, 60; Donna Pierce, "The Holy Trinity in
the Art of Rafael Aragon," New Mexico Studies in the Arts 3 (1978), 29-33.
3. The devotion to the heart of Christ was long connected to the thirteenth-
century Santa Gertrudis, and the heart forms part of her iconography; but the
present devotion dates only from seventeenth-century France. A few Sagrado
Corazon retablos date from the classical santero period (1790-1865), but the subject
became highly popular only in the latter part of the nineteenth century with the
arrival of European-American prints, contemporary European pieties, and the
Italian Jesuits (1867).
4. William Wroth suggests in Christian Images in Hispanic New Mexico (Col-
orado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1982), 10-18, that the principal emphasis in
Eastern Christianity from the apostolic age until the present and in the West until
Bernard of Clairvaux was to raise mankind to God by divinization, but that since
Bernard the West has emphasized God's coming down to the place of guilt— of
sin and the need for forgiveness. We might add that in New Mexico until recently
58 SANTOS AND SAINTS
the Western emphasis has included bringing the heavenly saints down to the
time and place of shame— of lack of control and the need for help.
5. Nuestra Sehora de los Candelarios is the name sometimes mistakenly
given to images of Nuestra Sehora de San Juan de los Lagos (a city in Mexico);
see E. Boyd and Frances Breese, New Mexico Santos and How to Name Them (San-
ta Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1966); letter of E. Boyd, 27 July 1972. See
items 29 and 45 in Appendix B for further information.
Why the mind-boggling multiplicity of Mary's titles? As Christian folklore
has developed him, the devil is a shapeshifter, and we might conjecture that in
order to keep up with him Mary has to assume a multitude of local names and
iconographic forms. Or alternately, Mary the type of the Church might need to
localize and particularize herself in all the regions where the church wishes to
be real. Her two dozen or so New Mexican advocations are only a trifling sam-
ple of her worldwide repertoire; Frederick G. Hoi week, Calendarium Liturgicum
Festorum Dei et Dei Matris Mariae (Philadelphia: American Ecclesiastical Review,
1925), listed about 300 pages of titles of Christ and Mary, each with its feast day,
and three-quarters of these were Mary's.
6. Carl G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy (New York: Pantheon, 1953), 172;
Erich Neumann, The Origins and History of Consciousness (New York: Pan-
theon, 1954), 153.
7. I found all the stanzas in Laurence F. Lee, "Los Hermanos Penitentes,"
El Palacio 8 (1920), 13-16. The first two stanzas are odd insertions in "Venid Almas
Devotas"; the third is from "Salve Virgen Pura"; the fourth and fifth are from
"Ave Maria Purfsima"; the last from "Concebida en Gracia ."
8. This is my identification. It is suggested by Gabriel's association with the
start of Christ's earthly life in being the messenger of the sky-god's fertility and
by his attribute of a chalice when he is not attached to a crucifix (though, inciden-
tally, he usually appears only as one of the three major archangels in a painting
or altarscreen). See Denver Art Museum collection, A.US.18.XIX.110; Jose Aragon
reredos in the Santuario at Chimayo, identified as item h of reredos A in Stephen
F. Borhegyi, "The Miraculous Shrines of Our Lord of Esquipulas in Guatemala
and Chimayo, New Mexico," El Palacio 60 (1953), 107; and Rafael Aragon's San
Miguel del Valle altarscreen.
9. Erich Neumann, Origins, 162, refers to the destructive maternal-
unconscious as "the archenemy of the hero who, as horseman or knight, tames
the horse of unconscious instinct, or, as Michael, destroys the dragon. He is the
bringer of light, form, and order out of the monstrous, pullulating chaos." Walter
J. Ong, S. J., conjectures that the Romantic movement became possible only when
Western learning and technology had advanced enough that men could "face
into the unknown with courage or at least equanimity as never before," Rhetoric,
Romance and Technology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971), 278. The Fres-
quis retablo is #2865 of the Museum of New Mexico collection.
10. For the sources of the legends, see Roland F. Dickey, New Mexico Village
Arts (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1949), 157; Jose E. Espinosa,
Saints in the Valleys (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1967 [orig.
THE HOLY PERSONS 5Q
1961]), 92-94; and Hippolyte Delahaye, S.J., The Legends of the Saints (Notre Dame:
University of Notre Dame Press, 1961), 109-10, 206, 209.
11. For San Juan Nepomuceno: E. Boyd, Saints and Saint Makers of New Mexico
(Santa Fe: Laboratory of Anthropology, 1946), 133; Richard E. Ahlborn, The
Penitente Moradas of Abiquiu (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1968),
139-40. For San Ramon Nonato: intrinsic evidence backed by questionnaire in-
12. See the comments of Robert L. Shalkop, Arroyo Hondo: The Folk Art of
a New Mexican Village (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1969), 42, on the retablo
of San Pedro (Taylor Museum collection #1676) with notations on the back of the
deaths of members of the lower morada, 1916-43. The keys also suggest Peter as
a psychopempsos figure, and see Acts of the Apostles 12:6-11 and the widespread
notion that Peter keeps the door of heaven.
13. On the Death Cart as nearly always and only found in moradas or in
chapels controlled by the Brotherhood, I have the word of informants and no
evidence to the contrary. Ahlborn, Penitente Moradas, 138, states that the presence
of the image "clearly marks a building as a penitente sanctuary." The late E. Boyd
told me in a conversation of 10 August 1972 that a tradition in the family of
santeros Jose Dolores and George Lopez tells Jose's father Nasario Guadalupe
made the first New Mexican death-image about 1860. See also Margaret Miller,
"Religious Folk Art of the Southwest," Bulletin of the Museum of Modern Art 10
## 5-6 (May-June 1943), 5, and Thomas J. Steele, S.J., "The Death Cart: Its Place
among the Santos of New Mexico," Colorado Magazine 55 (1978), 1-14.
14. J.H. Plumb, In the Light of History (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973),
15. Fred Cottrell, Energy and Society (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1955), 37. Cot-
trell adds in the full version of the fourth commandment, "Honor your father
and mother that you may have a long life upon the land."
16. Evon Z. Vogt and Ethel M. Albert, eds., People ofRimrock (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1966), 252; Ari Kiev, Curanderismo: Mexican-American
Folk Psychiatry (New York: Free Press, 1968), 99.
17. George Mills and Richard Grove, Lucifer and the Crucifer: The Enigma of
the Penitentes (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1966), 34-35.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (#33 in Appendix B) by Jose Aragon. The cartouches in
the corners show the principal episodes of the series of apparitions. From a
private collection, with permission.
Ola Saints in a New Land
O pain's special manner of being Roman Catholic and the
^ I group of saints she addressed in prayer and depicted in art
evolved during her seven-century-long domestic crusade
against the Islamic Moors. The successful conclusion of this "holy
war," in the same year that Columbus discovered America, turned
the prodigious Spanish energies outward, especially into the
western hemisphere, and they flowed ceaselesssly in the track
of such men as Pizarro and Cortes until, just over a century later,
a terminal Spanish settlement began in northern New Mexico
among the Pueblo Indians. The colony was an oasis of agricul-
turalism and pastoralism surrounded by vast areas dominated by
hunting and gathering tribes— the Navajos and other Apaches, the
Comanches, Utes, and Pawnees, and the dozens of other nomadic
peoples who made contact during the following centuries with
the Pueblos and Hispanics through occasional trade and frequent
Understandably, many of the religious and cultural configura-
tions which the Hispanic people had developed during those many
centuries of struggle against the Muslims traveled into the New
world with the conquistadores and the settlers who were their heirs.
62 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Here, of course, the attitudes had to be reapplied so they could be
brought to bear upon situations that no longer dealt with Muslim
"infidels ." Many of the old Spanish patron saints against Moorish
problems became Americanized on the New Mexican frontier as
patrons against troublesome Indians— whom the early colonizers
even referred to occasionally as "Moors ."
This conversion was quite unlike the syncretism said to be
characteristic of Mexican popular religion. For example, Eric Wolf
claims in Sons of the Shaking Earth that the Aztec deity Huitzilipochtli
(Hummingbird-on-the-left), a fearsome wizard-warrior, ''became
a Spanish Saint James riding down upon the heathens," 1 Whether
that was so or not in southern New Spain, it has always been quite
clear that no New Mexican saint is simply a pre-existent indigenous
sacred personage with a thin veneer of Christianity. No Pueblo war-
god became the military patron Santiago; no fertility goddess became
the Blessed Virgin— or vice versa. Most of the indigenous Pueblo
Indians accepted Christianity on its terms while continuing to live
and worship primarily as Indians, compartmentalizing the two
religions and not syncretizing them, juxtaposing without mixing
them. The Pueblos had too firm a self -definition and too deep a
commitment to their native religion to let any of their sacred per-
sonages be captured by the newcomers and enveloped within some
imported figure of their new religion.
All or practically all of the New Mexican adjustment of
Catholicism was made from within the Spanish culture, by its own
mechanism. The present chapter will suggest how the New Mex-
ican Hispanics reapplied Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Holy Child
of Atocha, and Santiago (the same Saint James who supposedly
became syncretized down in the Valley of Mexico with an analogous
Aztec deity) to serve their New Mexican needs.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Our Lady of Guadalupe is shown in the original picture as a
young woman wearing a rose-colored gown and a greenish-blue
robe, her hands clasped at her breast. The story about the origin
of the picture bears repeating.
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 63
Juan Diego, a young Indian convert, was walking to
mass in the early hours of 9 December 1531 when he
heard singing from a bright cloud at a hill held sacred
to Tonantzin, an Aztec goddess. A voice from the
cloud summoned Juan Diego, and he saw a young
woman whose brilliance made the brambles and rocks
of the hilltop look like jewels. She identified herself as
the Virgin Mary and promised her help to the native
peoples if the bishop would build a chapel to her at
Juan Diego took her message to the bishop as in-
structed, but the prelate disbelieved his story. Juan
reported to the lady that evening on his way
homeward; she asked him to try again the next day,
though Juan Diego suggested that she send someone
more influential than he.
At the next interview, the bishop requested some
sign, as Juan Diego reported to the lady at a third ap-
parition. She promised to respond to the bishop, tell-
ing Juan Diego to return the following morning.
But the young man had to spend the whole of the
next day tending his uncle, who had fallen ill, and
when the old man took a turn for the worse during the
night and seemed about to die, Juan Diego set out at
daybreak on 12 December to summon a priest to ad-
minister the last rites of the Church. As he approached
the hill, he tried to skirt it as widely as possible so as
to avoid the woman, but she descended the hill to
meet him. She assured him she had appeared to his
uncle and cured him, then she bade Juan Diego climb
to the top of the hill and pick the flowers he would
find blooming there, and arranged them in his tilma
when he returned to her. He took them to the bishop,
and when he loosened his tilma to drop the flowers
before him, the likeness of Our Lady of Guadalupe
was displayed upon it. 2
64 SANTOS AND SAINTS
We can see a European "third-time's-the-charm' structure if we
concentrate on the three interviews with the bishop. 3 If however
we read the story from Juan Diego's point of view, it has not only
a four-day time span but also a four-part plot, suggesting that this
basic account may have been composed by a Native American, who
would have resonated to any such four-part structure. The nar-
rative's four-part structure often appears visually in the form of four
vignettes at the corners of New Mexican santero paintings, sur-
rounding the culminating fifth appearance, the Virgin of Guadalupe
permanently imprinted on Juan Diego's tilma.
There is good evidence that except for the vaguely Semitic face
(in Mexico, the Virgin is often known as La Morena), the hands,
the European dress, and the European robe, all the other features
of the icongraphy are mid- to-late-sixteenth-century additions to
the tilma's original image: the angel, the moon, the belt, the brooch,
the sunburst body-halo, and the clouds. Certain pro-apparitionists,
men and women of good faith, great imagination, and laudable
pastoral impulses who wish to spread the devotion to Guadalupe,
ignore this good evidence and interpret the picture in its present
form as if it were a set of heavenly messages couched in indigenous
symbols, in a sort of Aztec code; but all the additions are more
simply and thoroughly explained as European— the normal Italo-
Gothic decorative tradition of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century
Spanish art. Further, these pro-apparitionists, while attempting to
interpret objective evidence, tend to read in what is not quite there,
to offer arbitrary and idiosyncratic explanations, to read the com-
posite picture— half original and half later addition— as if it were
either a fifteenth- or sixteenth-century Aztec codex or a nineteenth-
or twentieth-century realistic photograph. It is not an ancient codex,
nor is it a modern photograph, nor is it realistic. Instead it is con-
summately real— part of the world of religion and therefore of the
sacred, the powerful, the life-giving.
The anti-apparitionists, by contrast, a group of late-nineteenth-
century persons with noble goals and a possible weakness for
devious means, wanted to restrain the Guadalupe devotion. It is
currently suspected that in order to keep the Church from rocking
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 65
the fragile political boat, they cast doubt on the fundamental
authenticity of the apparitions and the tilma by forging documents,
including the text of a 1556 sermon attributed to Franciscan Pro-
vincial Fray Francisco de Bustamante that identified the Virgin with
the goddess Tonantzin and named an Indian artist as the creator
of the entire image on the tilma.
With so much confusion surrounding the image as accepted
for these four and a half centuries, we must approach the task of
interpretation with utmost care. By "the image as accepted" we
mean with the mid-sixteenth-century addition of the angel (and
six more angels at the edges painted out centuries ago), the lowest
swags of the Virgin's gown the remaining angel clings to with each
hand, the moon, the clouds, the sunburst body halo (and a gold
crown painted out in the mid-1880s), the belt, the black cartoon
outlining over the original image, the brooch at the neck, and all
the gold estofado decoration. In summary, this includes all the black,
all the gold, and all parts of the picture except for the face, hands,
undecorated gown, and undecorated mantle. 4
Two of these added attributes of the picture of Our Lady of
Guadalupe, the moon upon which she stands and the angel who
supports the moon, especially invite our interest. What meanings—
probably unconscious on the part of the artist doing the "im-
provements"— are encoded in these mid-sixteenth-century addi-
tions to the original? The moon is mythologically associated with
monsters, with bulls (because of their crescent-shaped horns), and
with female deities. The moon also has certain associations with
snakes: "The serpent, born from itself when sloughing its skin, is
symbolic of the lunar principle of eternal return." This relationship
suggests Quetzlcoatl, the plumed serpent deity of Aztec religion. 5
The blackness of the crescent may suggest the death of
Quetzlcoatl or Tonantzin or both at the coming of the Christian
Madonna. As the Spanish Virgins helped conquer the military-
religious foe in Europe and forced Christianity on Moors for whom
the crescent was the principal visual symbol, so the Mexican (and
New Mexican) Guadalupe helped subdue Indian military and
religious power, the forces of any tribes not as Christianized and
as obedient as the Spanish thought they ought to be. Thus, al-
66 SANTOS AND SAINTS
though the missionaries may have taught the Christianized Pueblo
Indians to call upon the Sehora de Guadalupe as their special
patron, insofar as they continued to practice their old rituals as well,
the Spanish saw them as analogous to Moors and as inviting the
displeasure of the Sehora de Guadalupe. 6
The angel initiates a similar train of associations. Angels seem
originally to have been connected, as serpents were, with lightning
and rain, and to have served as local manifestations of an elemen-
tal and primitive sky-god. The angel is also related to the snakelike
phallus, particularly in the erotes (winged put ti) of Roman funerary
art and in Eros himself (Amor, Cupid), a personification and deifica-
tion of masculine erotic drives. 7 The angel's role as messenger
(Greek aggelos, messenger) suggests comparison with Hermes, the
messenger of the Greek gods and personification of masculinity.
Since Hermes is a sort of winged serpent himself, the angel in the
Guadalupe picture may, along with the moon, symbolize the war
god Huitzilipochtli (Hummingbird-on-the-Left), the sun god
Nauholin, some other sky god, or even the generally benevolent
Quetzlcoatl, not so much supporting the Virgin as being superseded
by her, the dangerous and evil masculine being subdued by the
powerful feminine. 8
Let me repeat that these conjectures of mine have been
restricted to iconographic details known to have been added to the
original. The only "message" of the original can best be phrased
"Here I am."
Many people have said that Nuestra Sehora de Guadalupe was
only a Mexican devotion and was not popular in New Mexico dur-
ing the last century. In the early 1970s, when I was nearly finished
with my census of a thousand santos by subject, I was speaking
with a very knowledgeable New Mexican Hispanic who, when told
of my project, commented that I would not find very many
Guadalupes. I had to reply that I myself had thought so when I
began but that I was finding Guadalupe to be the second most
numerous title of the Blessed Virgin, trailing Nuestra Sehora de los
Dolores, despite all her powerful connections to Christ's redeem-
ing passion, by only a few examples. 9
The early popularity of Our Lady of Guadalupe is further
OLD SAINTS IN A NEW LAND
The Holy Child of Atocha (#7 in Appendix B) by Rafael Aragon, who
painted many retablos of this charming subject, including the one on the
cover of this book. Bequest by Cady Wells to the Museum of New Mexico,
Museum of International Folk Art.
68 SANTOS AND SAINTS
substantiated by the research of T.M. Pearce, who notes in his
article ''Religious Place Names in New Mexico" that "the largest
number of place names honoring the Mother of Christ are the eight
localities identified as Guadalupe" My own count, using Pearce's
New Mexico Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary, corroborates his
findings on the basis of his own later and fuller evidence. 10 In the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, despite their other differences
in culture, New Mexico shared with the rest of New Spain a single
set of religious devotions.
The Spanish population of New Mexico is genetically largely
mestizo because the groups that founded the colony in 1598 and
refounded it in 1693 contained many Mexican mestizos and Mex-
ican Indians, because the vecinos married Pueblo Indians, and
because in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the Hispanics
intermarried with genizaros and genfzaras, persons detribalized
from Plains and Basin Indian tribes and acculturated into the
Hispanic community. Although they were pure-blooded Indians,
the genizaros soon lived Spanish-style, giving up nearly all their
Indian language, religion, and customs. In New Mexico, there was
no way of "living culturally and religiously mestizo." A given family
either spoke Spanish as their mother tongue, lived in a Spanish
town, and worshiped in the Catholic-Penitente fashion, or they
spoke an Indian language as their mother tongue, lived in a pueblo
or with a nomadic tribe, and participated in the Pueblo dances
(along with being Catholic) or in the Navajo or other Indian
However much a given New Mexican Hispanic may have been
racially an Indo-Hispano mixture or even rarely a pureblooded
Indian, he considered himself both culturally Hispanic (he was
indeed) and racially Iberian (almost always "yes, to some degree";
almost never "no, not at all"). New Mexican Hispanic ethnic
bloodstock is probably a quarter to a third American Indian. The
groups who came to settle in northern New Mexico after the
Ohate conquest of 1598 and after the De Vargas reconquest of 1693
were mainly mestizo and included few criollos and even fewer penin-
sulares. Further, the Hispanics resembled the Pueblo Indians a good
deal culturally in the way they lived from day to day, as Don Pedro
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND OQ
Bautista Pino suggested in 1812: "Spaniards and pure-blooded
Indians (who are hardly different from us) make up the total
population of 40,000 inhabitants ." 12 Thirdly, the ties to southern
New Spain were strong, as is suggested by the great popularity of
Nuestra Sehora de Guadalupe in earlier years, when all the viceroys
and especially Bucareli (1771-79) paid homage to Our Lady of
Guadalupe and she served as the chief icon for the total socio-
Guadalupe's Mexican and New Mexican popularity rose im-
mensely after Padre Miguel Hidalgo, taking hints from patriots of
the middle of the seventeenth century and from the great
eighteenth-century Mexican Jesuit Francisco Javier Clavigero, named
her patroness of the 1810 revolution. Since Nuestra Sehora de los
Remedios (de Socorro) became patroness of the European-born
gachupines and their upper-class criollo allies in putting down
Hidalgo's "Rebellion of the Clergy" she earned the nickname La
Gachupina. New Mexican santos of Remedios are very scarce in com-
parison with those of Guadalupe, suggesting that the New Mex-
icans did not identify with Spain and disavow Mexico until about
a century later. 13
The New Mexican self -identification as Spanish and not Mex-
ican dates from the 1910s and 1920s. Nancie Gonzalez remarks that
"it was also in the years immediately following World War I that
the term 'Spanish-Colonial 7 first came into general usage" to dif-
ferentiate the New Mexicans from the immigrants newly arrived
from the Republic of Mexico. And the parallel term "Spanish-
American" appeared at the same time. During these years, immigra-
tion from Mexico was very high due to continual political unrest.
And simultaneously, immigration of Texan Anglos, with their
heritage of prejudice against Catholic Mexicans perhaps heightened
by a revival of Ku Klux Klan activity, brought the three groups into
close and often difficult contact. Partially to avoid being classed by
the Texans with the Mexican immigrants, the New Mexico Spanish
began to emphasize (and indeed over-emphasize) the real cultural
differences between the two Spanish-heritage groups. With
statehood (1912), New Mexicans and especially Santa Feans chose
to emphasize the Native American and the Spanish American and
70 SANTOS AND SAINTS
deemphasize the Mexican. Consequently, they began to remodel
and build in a mix of the Pueblo and hacienda styles, and the 1925
state flag depicts a Zia Pueblo sun symbol in the red and gold color
scheme of the Spanish Empire. 14
THE HOLY CHILD OF ATOCHA
In a very important article, Yvonne Lange tells how the
Dominican Fathers brought a statue of Nuestra Sehora de Atocha
from Spain to Plateros in Zacatecas during the 1780s. The Santo
Nino who sat on the Virgin's arm as her attribute became separated
in the early nineteenth century and acquired both an identity of
his own (partly borrowed from El Nino Cautivo, another Mexican
title) and a legend to validate his existence as the Santo Nino de
Atocha. The legend went like this:
In Atocha, a section of Madrid, the Moors imprisoned
many Spanish Christians during the later years of the
occupation. The conquerors forbade all persons except
little children to enter the prison on errands of mercy,
not even allowing priests to bring consolation to the
dying. The prisoners' relatives, knowing that they
lacked food and water and all spiritual consolation,
prayed that the Lord would bring the captives some
comfort. So one day a child, dressed like the pilgrims
of the time, came into the prison carrying a basket of
bread and a staff with a gourd full of water tied to the
top. To the astonishment of the Moors, the gourd and
the basket still were not empty after all of the captives
had been served, and each one, as he received nourish-
ment, received also the child's blessing. In answer to
his people's prayers, Christ had returned to earth to
serve those who needed spiritual and tangible help. 15
Both because of the legend narrating his original appearance and
because of the miracles he worked in New Mexico during the nine-
teenth century, the Santo Nino de Atocha served as patron against
the dangers that had befallen prisoners and that might befall any
travelers, who were always in danger in the colony of being taken
prisoner by the roving bands of unChristianized Indians as the
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 71
Christian Spanish during the middle ages were by the unchris-
tian Moors. There were countless tales of Nuevomejicano children
delivered out of captivity by the help of the Santo Nino. In about
1970 a very elderly Hispanic informant told me that a century earlier,
when his uncle Geronimo was a youth, he was captured by los
Pananas— the Pawnees— in the vicinity of Mora, which lies open
to the Great Plains. The Indians confined Geronimo in a sinkhole
of some sort, where he spent the time in fervent prayer for rescue
to the Holy Child. Suddenly, the Nino appeared and dropped a
string down to him, telling the young man to take hold of it; when
he did so, the Nino raised him from the deep hole. The Child then
led him to water, gave him some bread, and accompanied him to
the safety of the nearest Spanish settlement. Since many New Mex-
ican soldiers were in Bataan at the beginning of World War II and
went on the infamous Death March, there was great devotion to
the Santo Nino during their captivity. The Holy Child was a late
but very popular addition to the pilgrimage site at Potrero de
Chimayo, and the Nino has continued to be the focus of devotion
even as late as the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. All in all, the
Holy Child seems in time of war to be a sort of younger-brother
figure who saves from perilous enclosure, whereas in times of
peace, he serves as a protector against crippling illness and acci-
dent, and these protective specializations suggest that his main ef-
ficacy is to grant free movement from place to place. 16
The apostle Saint James the Greater— Santiago— is the patron
saint of horsemen. Hence he, San Rafael patron of fishermen, and
the Magi Kings who empower the Puebloan "Spanish Officials"
are the only Christian saints really integrated into the Tewa Pueblo
mind, for as Alfonso Ortiz emphasizes in The Tewa World, the other
needs of the Pueblo people were already covered adequately by
their own sacred personages. 17 With the importation of horses into
the new world and their acquisition by the Pueblos, Santiago
became important to peoples previously unfamiliar with such
Santiago's principal role in the colonial era of Spanish New
72 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Mexico was to oversee the control of the nomadic Indians. He was
the heavenly embodiment of the successful Spanish military strug-
gle against the Moors which, as Irving Leonard points out in his
Books of the Brave,
engendered a glorification of the warrior even more
pronounced than elsewhere in Europe, particularly
since the fighting man was a crusader against a pagan
faith. In these struggles individual combats were fre-
quent, and in them the successful contestant won fame
and was quickly enriched by the booty. Such rewards
were far quicker and more satisfying to personal pride
than those of the slower and less spectacular ways of
agriculture and the handicrafts, and inevitably there
emerged the false concept that soldiering was the
highest calling and the deeds of war were the duty and
almost the sole honorable occupation of manhood ....
The Spanish reconquest of the Peninsula from the
Moorish invaders had associated the more methodical
development of agriculture and the manual crafts of
[Islam] with a debased paganism and an infidel
religion. To the Christian crusader these practical ac-
tivities and hard labor were suitable for the enemies of
God and a befitting badge of servitude. 18
When the Spaniards tried to make this feudal ethic a reality in
seventeenth-century New Mexico by establishing the feudal system
that supported it, they finally brought about the inevitable Pueblo
reaction, the Rebellion of 1680.
The plan had worked well at first because the Pueblos had a
very similar set of relationships that the Spanish preempted, 19 but
they did not have the manpower or the firepower to continue to
impose their tyranny upon the Pueblos. From early on, the Spanish
crown "had forbidden the manufacture of arms in the colonies and
had severely limited the importation of them from the homeland ."
Toward the end of the Spanish era, Pedro Bautista Pino complained
that although gunpowder could have been made in New Mexico,
it had to be imported from Mexico at great expense. There were at
the time only a hundred and twenty-one soldiers in the colony paid
OLD SAINTS IN A NEW LAND 73
by the crown, so when there was any Indian aggression, the set-
tlers had to volunteer, reporting for duty
with horses, rifles, pistols, bows, arrows, and shields.
Likewise, they must pay for their own ammunition and
the supplies needed during the time they are under
arms, which is usually a period of forty-five days;
sometimes, however, there are two or three months of
continuous and cruel warfare against wild tribes.
And Pino goes on to complain that New Mexicans seldom held
positions of command or received suitable promotions. 20 This
milieu of citizen-soldiery armed with bows, arrows, and a few guns
shooting with powder the soldiers had to buy themselves, is hardly
what the conquistadores had in mind.
But Santiago became the settlers' military patron as surely as
he was that of the professional soldier. He had appeared in Spain
as early as at the Battle of Clavijo in the ninth century, and he is
described at the thirteenth-century Battle of Xerez, fought by King
Ferdinand III (San Fernando), as appearing "on a white horse, with
a white banner in one hand and a sword in the other, accompanied
by a band of cavaliers in white/' 21 And he appeared in the New
World fourteen times in aid of Spanish military enterprises, in-
cluding the battle of Acoma in the very first year of the colony's ex-
istence. In January of 1599, the Indians of this pueblo were
defending their town, built on its hundred-foot-high rock mesa,
against a punitive expedition led by Zaldivar; the Indians testified
after they had lost the battle that during it they had seen a very brave
soldier fighting among the Spanish whom they could not find after
the battle was over. According to Gaspar Perez de Villagra's recoun-
ting of the episode in his versified History of New Mexico, they
described "a Spaniard who in battle rode always on a great white
horse. He has a long thick white beard and a bald head; he is tall,
and he wears a terrifying sword, broad and mighty, with which he
has cut us all to the ground. He is most valiant." And a source even
closer to the event, a letter of one Alonzo Sanchez of 28 February
1599, describes "someone on a white horse, dressed in white, a red
emblem on his breast, and a spear in his hand." 22
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Saint James the Greater (Santiago; #115 in Appendix B) by an anonymous
late nineteenth-century santero. Note the fragment of a rosary used as reins,
the elaborate bit decoration, the wide skirt on the saddle, and the rider's
botas. Laura Gilpin photo; collections of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society,
Inc., at the Museum of International Folk Art, Museum of New Mexico.
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 75
Furthermore, when the Hispanics moved into southern Col-
orado soon after the United States takeover, Santiago is said to have
appeared in about 1854 to save the San Luis Valley settlement of
San Acacio from the Utes. 23 Having begun by protecting the
Spaniards from uncooperative Indians during the first months of
New Mexico's existence as a Spanish settlement, Santiago quickly
became domesticated on the northern frontier, ready to serve the
new colony just as he had served the mother country as the patron
of soldiers fighting a non-Christian enemy.
In addition to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Holy Child of
Atocha, and Saint James, some other santero subjects serve as pro-
tectors against the Indians: the Flight into Egypt, the Christ Child
Lost in the Temple, Saint Longinus, and Saint Peter. San Longino
joins Santiago as a military man; the Flight into Egypt, San Pedro,
and the Nino Perdido join the Nino de Atocha in seeing to the
release of those taken prisoner by the Indians; and San Pedro, the
keeper of the gate of heaven, becomes a soul-conductor like
Hermes-Mercury of classical mythology.
These eight saints taken together account for just over a tenth
of the total santo sample of a thousand. Without troubling with the
arithmetic, we can say that there was about a fifteen percent drop
in the depiction of these protector figures. This reduction may reflect
the greater protection from nomadic Indians afforded to the Euro-
peanized area of New Mexico by the United States Army after 1850
and the lessening of a very real cause of unease. But on the other
hand, the santos of Nuestra Sehora de Guadalupe and the Nino
de Atocha comprise the vast majority of the sample of ninety-two,
and as the Guadalupe became less popular (for the other reasons
we have seen) the Nino de Atocha became more popular. But the
fluctuations of popularity for undetermined causes renders the sam-
ple dubious and too small to be trusted very far.
1. Eric R. Wolf, Sons of the Shaking Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
76 SANTOS AND SAINTS
1959), 170. Recent research suggests that there was less religion-mixing than was
thought up to the 1960s. Richard J. Parmentier, "The Mythological Triangle:
Poseyemu, Montezuma, and Jesus in the Pueblos," 609-22 in Alfonso Ortiz, ed.,
Handbook of North American Indians (Washington: Smithsonian, 1979), notes that
occasionally Poseyemu (Po-he-yemu) was enhanced with certain Jesus material
and that on rare instances he was even said to be the equal of Jesus. But the fact
that he is never identified as Jesus makes the difference.
Within the greater Southwest, the Navajos are most often identified as syn-
cretists, for they readily and brilliantly integrated Pueblo elements (and, later,
European ones) into their Navajo synthesis.
2. The "Nican Mopohua," the major early documentary source on the ap-
paritions, is thought to have been composed by the Mexican Antonio Valeriano
and some of his Nahuatl-speaking associates. The story has been told in a myriad
of slightly different ways.
I wish to thank Miguel Leatham for the refinements and improvements in
the Guadalupe section.
3. On the survival in New Mexico Spanish folk tales of the European three-
part pattern, see George Mills and Richard Grove, Lucifer and the Crucifer: The
Enigma of the Penitentes (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1966), 40.
4. Philip Serna Callahan, The Tilma under Infra-Red Radiation (Washington:
Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, 1981); Miguel Leatham, "In-
digenista Hermeneutics and the Historical Meaning of Our Lady of Guadalupe,"
Folklore Forum 22 (1989), 27-39; Leatham, "Image Studies of Our Lady of
Guadalupe: An Historical Critique," unpublished paper, 1991.
5. Eric R. Wolf, "The Virgin of Guadalupe: A Mexican National Symbol,"
in William A. Lessa and Evon Z. Vogt, eds., Reader in Comparative Religion (New
York: Harper and Row, 1965), 227; Francis Huxley, "The Miraculous Virgin of
Guadalupe," International Journal of Parapsychology 1 (1959), 22.
Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology (London: Seeker and
Warburg, 1962), 276. In representations of Our Lady of the Immaculate Concep-
tion, snake and moon are interchangeable. See also Gilbert Durand, Les Struc-
tures Anthropologiques de ITmaginaire (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1960),
Donald Demarest and Coley Taylor, The Dark Virgin (Freeport, Maine: Col-
ey Taylor, 1956), 28. Regis University has a French print in a 19th century New
Mexican soldered-tin-and-glass frame of the Spanish Guadalupe: the crowned
Virgin holding the Christ Child and a small handbell. The original statue, one
of the chthonic "black virgins" of southern Europe, was supposed to have been
carved by Saint Luke.
6. When the question arose of making a chapel out of a kiva (a Pueblo
ceremonial chamber), de Vargas argued "that there were a number of churches
and cathedrals in Spain which were formerly Moorish mosques"; J. Manuel
Espinosa, Crusaders of the Rio Grande (Chicago: Institute of Jesuit History, 1942),
153-54. There is a hint in the same direction with regard to the Comanches in
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 77
a volume by Espinosa's equally eminent uncle Gilberto Espinosa, Heroes, Hexes,
and Haunted Halls (Albuquerque: Calvin Horn, 1972), 27.
7. Gunnar Berefelt, A Study on the Winged Angel (Stockholm: Almquist and
Wiksell, 1968), 57. An interesting set of transvaluations of gender is suggested
by the Old Pecos Bull Dance performed at Jemez Pueblo every year on August
2. The day is the feast of Porciuncula, a title of Our Lady of the Angels, which
was the name of the church at Pecos Pueblo (the people from there joined the
Jemez Pueblo in 1838). In being associated with angels in a positive fashion, Our
Lady assumes a sort of masculine aspect; the bull involved in the dance is a
seriocomic monster figure which, through it is masculine, gains a feminine con-
figuration by means of its crescent-shaped horns.
8. In this speculation, I do not want to suggest that overt sexuality con-
sciously recognized by the people involved was part of the Guadalupe cult. In-
stead, my position is just that of Erich Neumann's disclaimer in The Origins and
History of Consciousness (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 150-151:
"Our retrospective psychological interpretation corresponds to no point of view
consciously maintained in earlier times; it is the conscious elaboration of con-
tents that were once extrapolated in mythological projections, unconsciously and
symbolically." What I have tried to do is to make explicit and thematic what I
guess to be present in the Guadalupe picture (as doctored up some time after
1531) but only implicitly and prethematically.
I would like to bolster the case I have tried to make by referring to the im-
mense ambiguity of the image of the serpent throughout world cultures. The
serpent first appears in the Judaeo-Christian tradition on the tree of life— as "the
guardian, the thief, or the keeper of the Herb of Life in Semitic legend" (Durand,
Les Structures, 341, my translation); it next appears as the brazen serpent, also
on a tree, saving the people from the bites of the saraphs, the burning serpents
who are etymologically and symbolically related to the seraphs, the burning
angels. In the same part of the world, the serpent is an attribute of the Magna
Mater, as Neumann points out (pp. 48-49); the equivalent figure in Chinese myth,
the dragon, is also benevolent (Mircea Eliade, From Primitives to Zen [New York:
Harper and Row, 1966], 243).
But just as the serpent can have a double aspect, so the feminine may, as
Ari Kiev explains in his book on Texas-Mexican folk medicine, Curanderismo:
Mexican-American Folk Psychiatry (New York: Free Press, 1968), 164. Speaking of
overly indulged youngest children feeling abandoned when the next sibling ar-
rives, Kiev says: "It is no doubt partly because of such experiences that mother
figures remain in fantasy as both dangerous brujas [witches] and all-loving Virgins,
representing both the repressed hostilities toward the rejecting mother and the
unsatisfied longings for the pleasant, bygone dependency. If a child cannot turn
to an all-accepting mother, he may turn to the Virgin for acceptance and favors."
No wonder Durand calls the serpent, which is both masculine and feminine,
both good and evil, both death and life, "the living correlative of the labyrinth"
(p. 344); he might have said "of the desert."
Jungian and Freudean interpretation of artistic, religious, and literary sym-
78 SANTOS AND SAINTS
bols is suitable activity for all children from nine to ninety, and any number may
9. The statistics are: N.S. Dolores— 53 = 10, 34, 7, 2 (if the final figure were
statistically absorbed by the others, it would give 46 prior to 1850); N. S.
Guadalupe— 50 = 16, 24, 2, 8 (which would revise to a total of 48 before 1850).
For an independent assertion of Guadalupe's presence and power in nineteenth-
century New Mexico, see the anonymous Historia de la Aparicibn (Mexico: La
Europa de Fernando Camacho, 1897), 11:293-94 (by Esteban Anticoli, S.J.), as sum-
marized in Miguel C. Leatham, "The Santuario de Guadalupe in Santa Fe and
the Observations of Fr. Esteban Anticoli, S.J.," New Mexico Studies in the Fine Arts
10 (1985), 12-16.
10. T.M. Pearce, "Religious Place Names in New Mexico," Names 9 (1961) 3;
New Mexico Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary (Albuquerque: University of
New Mexico Press, 1965).
11. When Father Gabriel Ussel had been in Taos for fifteen years (fall
1858-early 1874), long enought to learn something about the Catholicism of the
pueblo in his charge, he wrote:
It is untrue, if not a gross ignorance, to say as it has been published
here and copied in the States newspapers, that the Indian Pueblos
in New Mexico under the cover of some Catholic practice, are but
superstitious, idolaters, believers in [the] future coming of
Montezuma. Indian[s] believe in [the] true God, believe all that the
Church teaches them, are baptized according to the Catholic Church
rites, [and are] firmly attached to her. [A] little over a year [ago],
when Agent J.M. Cole tried by every means to bring them to his
point, to receive J.M. Roberts, Presbyterian minister, for their
teacher, how was he disabused? Is he not another witness that our
Indians of Taos are Catholics, and determined to raise their families
in the [Catholic] faith?
Nancy Nell Hanks, "Not of This Earth: An Historical Geography of French
Secular Clergy in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 1850-1912," dissertation, Univer-
sity of Oklahoma, 1993, 171-72, quoting a letter to Lamy, Archives of the
Archdiocese of Santa Fe, loose document 1874 # 1.
12. H. Bailey Carroll and J. Villasana Haggard, trans, and eds., Three New
Mexico Chronicles (Albuquerque: The Quivira Society, 1942), 9. See for instance
Clevy Lloyd Strout, "The Resettlement of Santa Fe, 1695: The Newly Found
Muster Roll," NMHR 53 (1978), 260-70. Ramon Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the
Corn Mothers Went Away (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), 171, 174-75,
estimates that by the late eighteenth century a third of culturally Hispanic New
Mexico was genizaro; he cites Donald Cutter and Albert H. Schroeder. Govern-
ment officials and army officers who came to New Mexico were probably most-
ly peninsulares, while enlisted men were probably mostly mestizo.
At the San Felipe Neri de Albuquerque fiesta of late May 1888, Major Jose
Desiderio Sena of Santa Fe praised "la raza Hispano-Mejicana"; see Thomas J.
OLD SAINTSIN A NEW LAND 7Q
Steele, S.J., Works and Days: The History of San Felipe Neri Church (Albuquerque:
Albuquerque Museum, 1983), 51.
13. Hugh M. Hamill, The Hidalgo Revolt (Gainesville: University of Florida
Press, 1966), 161, 178-79. Miguel Sanchez' 1648 oration and Francisco Javier
Clavigero's Historia antigua de Mexico are major works in forming Mexican con-
sciousness. The viceroys typically went to the Guadalupe shrine en route to the
City of Mexico; Bucareli went out to pray practically every single day of his tenure.
14. Nancie L. Gonzalez, The Spanish-Americans of New Mexico (Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 1969), 80; see also 203-04, where Gonzalez cites
Erna Fergusson and Mary Austin on the appearance of the term "Spanish-
American" in the same decade. See also Matt S. Meier and Feliciano Rivera, The
Chicanos: A History of Mexican Americans (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972), 113-14.
If Mary Austin and Frank Applegate did not create the term "Spanish Colonial,"
they certainly gave it currency in 1920s New Mexico.
Robert J. Torrez, "State Seal Receives Eagle-Eyed Scrutiny," New Mexico
Magazine 71, 12 (December 1993), 80-87, describes the official 1887 Territorial Seal,
which features a Mexican eagle grasping a rattlesnake and guarded by an
American golden eagle— quite a different message from the 1925 state flag.
15. Yvonne Lange, "Santo Nino de Atocha: A Mexican Cult Is Transplanted
to Spain," El Palacio 84 # 4 (Winter 1978), 2-7. I have rewritten the legend from
E. Boyd, Saints and Saint Makers of New Mexico (Santa Fe: Laboratory of An-
thropology, 1946), 126-27, quoted verbatim in previous editions of Santos and
See also Charles M. Carrillo, "Santo Nino de Atocha," unpublished paper,
1984, and Cecile Turrietta, "Santo Nino de Atocha in New Mexico," unpublished
In the Madrid faubourg of Atocha there is a Dominican church of Nuestra
Sehora de Atocha.
16. If the Nino is a younger-brother figure, then San Miguel and Santiago,
both to be treated later, would be elder-brother figures. For comparable oral-phase
material, see my "Oral Patterning of the Cyclops Episode, Odyssey IX," The
Classical Bulletin 48 (1972), 54-56. This last motif will be treated in Chapter VI in
connection with monsters.
17. Alfonso Ortiz, The Tewa World: Space, Time, Being, and Becoming in a Pueblo
Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), 156; Leslie A. White, The
Pueblo of Santa Ana, New Mexico (American Anthropology Association Memoir
# 60, 1942), 256-67, 350-51. The Pueblos provided large numbers of excellent aux-
iliaries to the Spanish during the eighteenth century; see Oakah L. Jones, Pueblo
Warriors and Spanish Conquest (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966).
18. Irving A. Leonard, Books of the Brave (Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1949), 5-6.
19. Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, 122.
20. Leonard, Books, 242; Pino in Carroll and Haggard, Three New Mexico
21. Washington Irving, Spanish Papers (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, n.d.),
80 SANTOS AND SAINTS
468; Rafael Heliodoro Valle, Santiago en America (Mexico: Editorial Santiago, 1946),
19-20, 33; Marc Simmons, Santiago: Saint of Two Worlds (Albuquerque: Universi-
ty of New Mexico Press, 1991), 8-9.
22. Gilberto Espinosa, transl., F.W. Hodge, ed., History of New Mexico (Los
Angeles: Quivira Society, 1933), 264; see especially Miguel Encinias etal., eds.,
trs., Historia de la Nueva Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1992), 298-99. Incidentally, Villagra was bald.
George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, Don Juan de Ohate, Colonizer of New
Mexico (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1953), 427. See also Ben-
jamin W. Read, Illustrated History of New Mexico (Santa Fe: New Mexican Prin-
ting Company, 1912), 229; Mrs. William T. Sedgwick, Acoma, the Sky City
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1926), 84; and Simmons, Santiago, 17-19,
23. Luther Bean, Land of the Sky Blue People (Alamosa: The Olde Print Shoppe,
1964), 97-98; San Luis Valley Historian 4 # 4 (1972), 2; Marianne L. Stoller et al.,
Diary of the Jesuit Residence of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Conejos, Colorado,
December 1871-December 1875 (Colorado Springs: Colorado CoUege, 1982), 70nll2;
Simmons, Santiago, 27-28. Whenever Christianity expands into an area previously
non-Christian, apparitions and other miracles are likely to be reported.
See also Joseph Winter, "\ Santiago!" New Mexico Magazine 64 # 3 (March 1986),
53-57; Robert J. Torrez, "Santiago: Observation of an Ancient Tradition in a Nor-
thern New Mexico Village," El Palacio 95 # 2 (Spring/Summer 1990), 46-55.
of the Holy Persons
'Hp raditional New Mexican santos were holy because they came
-*" I into being within a strong religious-art context composed of
their relationship to their makers, their materials, their models, and
their intended uses. The proximate objects of imitation in the New
Mexico santero tradition were artistic: the previous representations
of the subject done by the santero himself and the available repre-
sentations of the subject by other santeros in the traditions of New
Spain and New Mexico. The ultimate imitated object of each santero
painting or statue is the saint or other holy person. The relation
between the santero image and the holy person from whom it
derives its special quality of power will focus the little "armchair
ethnotheology" that follows. For present purposes, there are two
kinds of santos: those that represent the saints and the angels and
those that represent the adult Christ in his Passion.
In New Mexico, art was religious in purpose and not aesthetic,
so the santero's goal was to create an instrument of holiness and
power rather than an artifact for detached contemplation. Conse-
quently, the connection between the image and the actual saint was
a matter of utmost importance. The artifact is extrinsically holy both
82 SANTOS AND SAINTS
because of what may be done with it (prayer) and because it was
made by a holy santero working within a holy tradition. The santo's
intrinsic sanctity results from the way the santo imitates the saint.
As a general principle, a ritual article or action is more powerful
(first) the more authentically it imitates its prototype and (second)
the more holy and powerful that prototype is.
The mentality this rule of thumb reflects might be termed "folk
Platonism." In this way of thinking, an individual cult object— holy
picture or statue— is validated by a holy person who lives in heaven,
and an individual cultic action— a religious ritual— is validated by
an action performed by a "culture hero" during the special time
when all the patterns for religious ritualism were permanently
set. 1 Because this "folk Platonism" relates the artifact rather to the
eternal reality it represents than to contemporary human awareness,
it runs the risk of letting the religious artifact or the religious ritual
deteriorate into unimaginative, mechanical, dead imitation. 2 Since
aesthetic considerations were de-emphasized in the New Mexican
art world, where the tradition was far more important than anything
the self-effacing artist added to it, it may be wondered how the
artistic quality of the santos stayed as high as it did for so long. But
the couple of dozen santeros who produced the bulk of New Mexico
santos apparently exercised their craft with the earnestness and
honesty that came from deep devotion to the santos they made,
to the saints that the santos represented, and to the tradition that
linked them into a unity.
There are two modes in which New Mexico cult objects are
validated. The first is the simpler; it has to do with the relation-
ship of pictures and statues depicting the ordinary human saints,
the angels, the Virgin, and the divine Persons to those holy per-
sons themselves. The principle stated above, that the power of a
cult object or action is gauged by the norms of fidelity to the original
and power of the original, applies quite readily. The question of
fidelity was cared for by the tradition of santero art, for the santero
can assume that he is making his santo right if he is making it "the
way it's always been done," the way the tradition indicates. The
question of power insures that the santo will imitate not the saint
as he or she was formerly active during an earthly lifetime but the
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS 83
saint presently living in heaven and hence active at the peak of
power and holiness.
For it is not the saint in this world, having the slight power of
a holy human being, but the saint established in heaven, in the
timeless "now" of eternity, who is able to give the maximum power
to the bulto or retablo which imitates him or her. Before death, New
Mexican piety maintained, holy persons have only a very limited
power, but God has assigned some of them after death certain
responsibilities in definite earthly matters, and he has granted them
the authority to fulfill their duties throughout the world for the rest
of time. Hence the saints of New Mexican art are shown not in
moments from their earthly lives but in the eternal now of heaven,
not in the earthly geography of their weak mortality but in the em-
powering habitat of paradise.
In eternity, the saints have retrieved and summed up tunelessly
all the moments of their earthly histories and (more important) all
the power and responsibilities for earthly affairs God has given
them to exercise in all places for all subsequent history. For the New
Mexicans, then, the saints are mainly sources neither of aesthetic
beauty nor of ethical example but of help. The various items they
hold— skulls, rocks, crosses, books, pennants, and so forth— are not
implements for performing the particular pious actions of their
earthly lives; these items are instead iconographic attributes which
serve to establish each saint's eternal self -identity, and very often
the saint's attributes are signs too of the responsibilities he or she
is currently fulfilling on behalf of people on earth.
European religious art of the Renaissance era suggests that if
San So-and-So, pictured in a moment from his earthly history, was
once a mere mortal like us, we can attain his eminence by imitating
him. This presupposition leads toward Pelagianism, that constantly
recurring Christian heresy which holds that a man saves his own
soul by living a good life in imitation of Christ and other holy per-
sons. The New Mexico santero art seems on the other hand to say,
Santa Such-and-Such is now in heaven, and God has assigned her
to aid me; this holy retablo is of itself and by its own sanctity both
my powerful claim on her and her potent presence at the spot of
need. Since a ritual or ritualistic object is holy and powerful to the
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Our Father Jesus the
Nazarene (#13 in Ap-
pendix B) by an
from a morada (chapter
house of the peniten-
tial Brotherhood of Our
Father Jesus the
Nazarene) west of
Taos. The arms can
move, and the wig is
real human hair. Be-
quest of Cady Wells to
the Museum of New
Mexico, Museum of In-
ternational Folk Art.
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS 85
degree that it represents, participates in, and hence becomes the
ritual-founding action or the sacred being from the pattern-setting
time or place, the New Mexico santero links his image to what is
most real and most holy: the saint in heaven. The santo is very
much like a mirror, for if you see a man's reflection in a mirror, that
image shares so thoroughly in his motion and his very life that you
do not see the reflection only, you see in a very true way the per-
son himself— and he can see you. So the santo makes possible a
two-way visual communication between earth and heaven, between
heaven and earth, and the communication by sight can initiate a
communication of voice and of ear.
Not only ordinary saints but most other holy personages thus
validated the santos that mirrored them. The Blessed Virgin, like
the rest of the human saints, is more powerful now than she was
on earth. And the angels, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit
never had other than a heavenly existence.
The second mode of validation is that associated with any
santero statue or painting of the adult Christ, for example, with a
retablo or (especially) bulto of Jesus Nazareno (Jesus the Nazarene)
or of the Man of Sorrows, a crucifix, or a Santo Entierro (Holy Buried
Body of Christ). For all their traits of iconic stylization, these figures
have a dimension of living and dynamic presence rarely en-
countered even in other New Mexican religious art. Their power-
ful interaction with the sensitive viewer elicits an interpersonal— a
spiritual— experience. The Jesus Nazareno and Santo Entierro
figures derive their forceful presence largely from a lavishness of
very carefully wrought detail, from their size (they are nearly as
large as an adult, far bigger than other santos), and from their
articulation (they are hinged with leather or cloth at the shoulder
like huge puppets so they can be carried through the various stages
of capture, scourging, way of the cross, crucifixion, deposition, and
The validation of these Christ-figures stems not, as in the case
of the other holy personages, from any heavenly existence but from
a particular set of earthly, historical actions, the Passion. Christ in
86 SANTOS AND SAINTS
his eternal pre-existence or in his present glorification does not
guarantee these santos; the earthly Christ does so by having per-
formed the only complex of actions that is recognized by Christians
as a truly pattern-setting and sanctifying event: the Passion and
Death. 3 In the Jesus Nazareno bultos, the hinging of the
shoulders suggest that it is not so much the person Christ who is
imitated by the bulto as it is the action-sequence of Christ's Passion,
Crucifixion, Deposition, and Burial. This complex action (in a fuller
theology, with Resurrection and Ascension added) is the validating
basis of Christian salvation and Catholic sacramentalism, and con-
sequently it stands in Catholic Christianity as the equivalent of the
action-complex of the culture hero of a tribal culture.
The pattern-setting action of any culture-hero always occurs in
a special kind of time, the sort of special period that Mircea Eliade
calls in illo tempore— "in that time, in the beginning, in the once-and-
for-all time" that establishes the eternal archetype and sets the pat-
tern for all other times. The Mud tempus readily absorbs portions
of our "clock and calendar" time into itself, and so we can have ac-
cess to the sacred time whenever we wish: mere now can become
sacred then. This kind of time-identity baffles Aristotelian logic, but
ritual is the key: the devout believer knows that "the beginning,"
the Mud tempus, starts again whenever the original deed of the
culture hero is repeated in ritual, and because the santo is intrin-
sically sacred, heavily freighted with power for life, it tends to
engender ritual. 4
Within his special kind of time, then, the culture-hero has
performed an action central to the sacred story that later narrates
it and the rite that later re-presents it. The narrative generally
contains an authorization, in the form of a command, a request,
or a grant of permission for the subsequent performances of the
ritual: "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial: and ye shall
keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations: ye shall
keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever" (Exodus 12:14); "do this
in remembrance of me" (I Corinthians 11:24). And so devout Jews
celebrate the Seder year after year, and all Christian denominations
—Oriental, Protestant, and Roman— enact a memorial of the Pas-
sion of Christ.
Saint Raymond the Unborn (#113 in Appendix B) by Jose Aragon (active
1820-35). A great painter of the classical period of santero art is at the height
of his powers here. The draftsmanship santero art is especially stunning.
Regis University Collection.
Saint Ignatius Loyola (#87 in Appendix B) by Rafael Aragon (active 1820-62).
Badly wounded in battle, Inigo Lopez de Loyola convalesced into the great
mystic who founded the Jesuits. The artist has endowed him with a self-
possession appropriate to a man united with God. The strange object on the
shelf at the left is a biretta, a medieval student's hat that became part of
clerical gear. Regis University Collection.
Resurrection (#22 in Appendix A) by Rafael Aragon (active 1820-62). A large
Christ rises in the center of the panel, a very tiny figure at his feet holds up
a hand from a grave in the rock, and a small figure at the viewer's right
might represent Christ enthroned. From a private collection, with
Our Lady of Sorrows
(Dolores, #31 in Ap-
pendix A) by a follower
of Molleno. Up to the
waist, this bulto is
hollow, merely a thin
wooden base, a
framework of slats, and
a covering of cloth
covered with gesso and
painted. The tin halo
and sword are modern
additions, fitting into
original holes. Regis
'- : W^M^
Our Lady of Guadalupe (#33 in Appendix B) by Antonio Molleno
(active 1800-40). Little flakes of mica in the yellow ocher seem to give an
extra sparkle to the body halo (sunburst) in which the patron of the
Americas stands. Regis University Collection.
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (#33 in Appendix A) by the A. J. Santero
(c. 1822). This powerful retablo depicts the moment when Bishop Zumarraga
and a Franciscan friar first saw the image of Our Lady on Juan Diego's tilma
and knelt in adoration. From a private collection, with permission.
Crucifixion (#16 in Appendix B) by Mexican-born Jose de Gracia Gonzales
(active in New Mexico and southern Colorado 1860-1900). At one time
stretched and framed, perhaps as part of an altarscreen, this oil on canvas
was later taken loose, hung from a wooden rod, and carried on a pole as a
processional banner by the penitential Brothers of the chapter at Tecolote, in
San Miguel County. Regis University Collection.
Saint Christopher (Cristobal, #68 in Appendix A) by Frank Applegate, who
presented this little panel to Mary Austin on 9 September 1928, her sixtieth
birthday. Real trendsetters, Austin and Applegate initiated the revival of the
santero tradition in the 1920s. Regis University Collection.
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS 87
Indeed, from the earliest days Christians have adopted all pos-
sible strategies for preserving and communicating the Passion and
Death of Christ, for assuring that this event would never be forgot-
ten and become inaccessible from later history. First, the Calvary
event took the form of the Eucharistic meal. Secondly, it took artis-
tic form in icons in the Eastern churches and paintings and statues
in the Western. And thirdly, it took multiple narrative forms: the
original preaching (kerygma), the Passion narratives in each of the
four gospels, the chanting of the passion during the Holy Week
liturgy, the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, four of the Seven
Sorrows of Mary, innumerable vernacular ballads telling the story
of the Lord's sufferings, and the Stations of the Cross (a set of four-
teen moments from Pilate's sentencing to Jesus' burial).
These different forms of Christ's Passion and Death helped
solve a problem in the New Mexican church toward the end of the
eighteenth century. The problem was the lack of pastoral care due
to the rapid growth and spread of Hispanic population and the
relative scarcity of priests. As the Hispanic population continued
to grow, the people had to move away to find new land for farm-
ing and ranching, while at the same time the supply of priests re-
mained small. More and more of the Hispanics found themselves
too far from any parish for regular priestly care. The Mass and the
other essential rituals were conspicuous in the Hispanic villages
only by their absence, especially during Holy Week, the most holy
time of the year.
The first step toward a solution resulted indirectly from the
Franciscan devotion to the Passion of Christ. This central feature
of traditional Franciscan spirituality led to an early-eighteenth-
century revival of the Stations of the Cross. The powerful preaching
and writing of the Italian Franciscan Leonardo di Porto Maurizio
(d. 1751) brought them back into high favor during the first half of
the eighteenth century, his Franciscan brethren promoted the Sta-
tions in the American Southwest, and so the devotion of the Way
or Stations of the Cross was the last great Franciscan gift to the
Hispanic people of New Mexico as they moved out of the over-
88 SANTOS AND SAINTS
crowded towns into the mountain valleys in search of vacant land.
With the Stations providing their plot-line, the people dramatized
what the Mass would have ritualized. As the penitential season of
Lent concluded with Holy Week, the most sacred time of the year,
more and more Spanish towns engaged their entire populations
in transforming the private devotion of the Stations into a great
public religious drama, a complex and wonderful multimedia enact-
ment involving in some degree all the forms of Christ's Passion and
In New Mexico, the people performed the passion play only
on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday, never at any
other time of the year. The play was always based on the Stations
of the Cross as supplemented by the Five Sorrowful Mysteries and
reinforced by the last four of the Seven Sorrows of Mary. Alabados—
passiontide hymns, especially those that adhered to the Stations-
provided most of the text. By singing the alabados and responding
to the prayers, even a person who did not take a role such as Pilate,
Simon of Cyrene, a Pharisee, a Roman soldier, or a Holy Woman
of Jerusalem could become totally involved in the ritual and thus
totally present to the central event of salvation history. 5
After the New Mexican passion play got started, it rapidly
became widespread, turning up in the Spanish towns of Santa Fe,
Santa Cruz, Albuquerque, and Tome. The Yankee merchant Josiah
Gregg witnessed it in Santa Fe during the 1830s:
An image of Christ large as life, nailed to a huge
wooden cross, is paraded through the streets, in the
midst of an immense procession, accompanied by a
glittering array of carved images, representing the
Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and several others;
while the most notorious personages of antiquity, who
figured at that great era of the World's history,— the
centurion with a band of guards, armed with lances,
and apparelled in the costume supposed to have been
worn in those days,— may be seen bestriding splendid-
ly caparisoned horses, in the breathing reality of flesh
and blood. 6
The most renowned passion play has been the one performed in
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS 8Q
the village of Tome, about thirty miles south of Albuquerque on
the east bank of the Rio Grande. In 1776, Fray Francisco Atanasio
Dominguez referred to "the settlers, who sometimes hold their Holy
Week function in the chapel," and the citizens of Tome performed
the play at the church on the plaza every Holy Week until the
The play's main "characters" were two great bultos of Christ,
the Jesus Nazareno that took the part of the Lord up to the crucifix-
ion and the Santo Entierro with its articulated shoulders and neck
which "hung upon the cross, the nails thrust through holes pro-
vided in hands and feet. Later, after the scene of the crucifixion,
He was taken down from the cross, replaced in the coffin, and
returned to the church." 8 Other statues took the parts of Our Lady
of Sorrows, Our Lady of Solitude, and Saint John the Evangelist,
and townspeople acted the remaining parts.
On Holy Thursday evening, the people enacted Judas' betrayal
of Jesus to the Pharisees and Romans, then the priest carried the
story forward in a sermon. The Nazareno bulto spent the night in
a latticework prison-cell in the church, guarded by Roman soldiers
but ministered to by angels. On Good Friday morning, the
townsman portraying Pilate released Barabbas and condemned the
bulto of Christ, whom he declared innocent, to the cross. A cen-
turion on horseback led the entourage around the Tome plaza for
the first nine of the Stations of the Cross; then the priest delivered
a brief sermon. In the afternoon, the Santo Entierro was hung upon
the cross, flanked by the two thieves (youths tied to smaller crosses
and standing comfortably on ample ledges). The three "bodies"
were lowered, and the Santo Entierro was borne around the plaza
in a coffin and returned to the church in a great funeral procession.
When Josiah Gregg witnessed this "Holy Week function" in
the 1830s and became one of the first persons to describe it, it con-
tained another component besides the Stations of the Cross:
I once chanced to be in the town of Tome on Good Fri-
day, when my attention was arrested by a man almost
naked, bearing, in imitation of Simon, a huge cross
upon his shoulders, which, though constructed of the
lightest wood, must have weighed over a hundred
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Crucifix (#16 in Appendix B
by Jose Benito Ortega. Be-
quest of Cady Wells to the
Museum of New Mexico,
Museum of International
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS Ql
pounds. The long end dragged upon the ground, as we
have seen it represented in sacred pictures, and about
the middle swung a stone of immense dimensions, ap-
pended there for the purpose of making the task more
The bearer of the cross in likeness to Jesus must have been a
member of La Cofradia de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno— the
Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene, an organization of
Spanish Catholic laymen which seems to have arisen in the colony
a bit later than the passion play, perhaps in the 1780-1810 period. 10
During the earlier weeks of Lent, the men of the Brotherhood used
their Jesus Nazareno and Santo Entierro bultos to enact the stages
of the Christ's passion, but the focal moment of the Penitente ritual
cycle was the re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday,
when one of the Brothers might be tied to the full-size cross he had
carried to the Calvario, raised upon it, and left for a short time.
Although it is known outside the villages principally for its cor-
poral penances, the Brotherhood existed and still exists mainly for
deeds of charity and mutual help within the local community. The
two things worth noting are probably these, that the Brothers' obe-
dience to their immediate superior, the Hermano Mayor (Elder
Brother) is of more value than their penance, and that "individual
innocent suffering is connected with the healing of the wider com-
munity." 11 The Brothers' religious exercises developed for the most
part from standard devotions and penances of the Catholic Church;
for instance, their Tinieblas is a powerful, wonderful development
of the standard Catholic Tenebrae, a ritualizing of the darkening
of the sun and moon, the earthquake, the tearing of the temple veil,
and the rising of the dead — the expression of Nature's dismay and
return to chaos when Christ died. 12
The characteristic hymns of the Brotherhood, the alabados,
derive their Spanish name for the opening words of a song in praise
of the Eucharist, "Alabado sea— Praised be." These songs serve as
the liturgical texts of many of the Penitente rituals; their ballad-like
stanzas narrate the events being commemorated, guiding the mind
92 SANTOS AND SAINTS
and moods of the devout and the actions of the human performers
through the sequence of holy history. For example, here are the stan-
zas of "Pues Padiciste Por Amor Nuestro" that narrate the fourth,
sixth, and eighth stations:
Su amante Madre
lo encuentra tierno,
y queda herido
de ambos el pecho.
le ofrece un lienzo
y el rostro santo
recibe en premio.
A las que lloran
por sus tormentos
que lloren manda
por si y sus deudos.
His loving Mother
tenderly meets him,
the heart of them both.
The pious woman
offers him her veil
and receives as reward
the holy countenance.
Those who weep
for his sufferings
he tells to weep
for themselves and their children.
The penitent Brothers engaged in a variety of penitential
practices— scratching their backs to start the flow of penitential
blood, scourging themselves, and applying cactus to their bodies—
in addition to carrying heavy crosses and reenacting the Crucifix-
ion of Christ mentioned above. These five penances are, I believe,
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS Q3
ritualizations of the Five Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. It should
be added that in all of these penances, the wounds "are not deep
and the muscle structure is not damaged. " 13
In general, the Brothers were the most significant nineteenth-
century patrons and practitioners of the arts. Their momdas— chapter
houses— are prime examples of vernacular communal architecture,
and the composition of alabados— passiontide hymns— and the
santos would never have ben so numerous or become so excellent
without the Brothers' inspiration and patronage. In these concrete
ways, the Brothers typified the New Mexican Hispanic modes of
inserting their human lives into the divine life, with all its authen-
ticity, permanence, and sacred power.
Bishops Zubirfa and Lamy from 1833 to 1875, Archbishops
Lamy and Salpointe and their successors from 1875 to the 1930s,
and the Jesuits of Revista Catolica from 1875 to the 1930s could not
cope with the mentality at the root of Penitente activities and the
other principal ingredients of New Mexican Spanish Catholicism.
There is good reason to suspect that— however much they usually
kept it to themselves— the Mexican and Spanish-educated priests
in the colony prior to 1851 had reacted negatively to the activities
of their parishioners. 14 To men educated in seminaries dominated
by Counterreformation neo-Aristotelianism, educated in a world
dominated by the rationalistic Enlightenment, the penitential rites
of the men of New Mexico must have looked like the worst sort of
medieval superstition, and because the santos of Christ typical of
the Brotherhood reveal their full meaning only in the context of the
"folk Platonism ,, mentioned above, the priests from outside the col-
ony must be excused for failing to comprehend them. 15
William Wroth quotes some comments on a bulto of Jesucristo
made by Miguel Herrera. The santo had a head and lower jaw that
could be moved by wires: "On Good Friday, Christ raises his head
and tries to talk to us." 16 A bulto or an actor in a passion play or
a Brother in penitential earnest might substitute for Christ in en-
acting the events of his passion, and in the same way the bulto of
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Our Lady of Solitude
(#48 in Appendix B) by
Jose Benito Ortega.
Held up by some
means, her arms with
their large, powerful
hands received the im-
plements of the
passion— the crown of
thorns, nails, and so
forth— when her son's
body was removed
from the Cross. Be-
quest of Cady Wells to
the Museum of New
Mexico, Museum of In-
ternational Folk Art.
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS Q5
Jesus Nazareno or the Santo Entierro served in many a priestless
village as a substitute for the reserved Eucharist. The people car-
ried it about the fields to bless them on the feast of Corpus Christi,
the day when a priest, had one been available, would have carried
the consecrated host itself in procession.
Sacramental theology on the "folk-Platonic" model enhances
our understanding of New Mexican enactments of Christ's Passion
and Death, whether they come about as drama, penance, or art.
The sanguinary "Penitente" crucifixes, the Jesus Nazareno and
Santo Entierro bultos, the passion plays, and the Brothers'
ceremonies are all best evaluated together, as parallel manifestations
of the same religious dynamic. In the New Mexican tradition, as
we have seen, most saints are represented in repose, so that even
San Acacio and Santa Librada are not depicted in the moment of
their "painful" crucifixions so much as shown possessing their
crosses as attributes; but the Brothers' crucifixes and especially their
Nazarenos and Santo Entierros are definitely action-oriented. They
show a highly dramatic Christ, often made with hinged limbs so
they can go through the various torturous stages of capture, flagella-
tion, crowning with thorns, mocking, carrying the cross, crucifix-
ion, deposition, and burial.
The events of Christ's Passion and Death compose a pattern
that surpasses the earthly deeds of any other holy person, indeed,
of all of them combined. Hence, when the men of the village move
the Jesus Nazareno bulto through the various moments of Christ's
earthly passion, death, and entombment, the activity is almost cer-
tainly to be understood as a folk substitution for the inaccessible
Catholic Mass. The action, no less than the articulated statue itself,
is validated by the primal Christian event in such a manner that
the action is the ritual sign in which that primal event is really pre-
sent. This kind of activity originally took place in New Mexico
without authorization by the official Church, and there is no pro-
vision in any official Catholic theology of the sacraments for it; but
the people were undoubtedly performing rituals along the lines of
the sacraments. They made present in their own day, in their own
96 SANTOS AND SAINTS
villages, in their own bodies the identical action upon which the
Christian religion is based. 17
What they did was not a Pelagian effort to gain their salvation
by doing for themselves what Christ had already done for all. Just
as in traditional Catholic theology a particular Mass is not
distinguishable in its fundamental being from Christ's sacrifice of
himself on Calvary, so the penitential crucifixion ritualizes and
hence becomes (to a limited degree, in a limited place, and for a
limited time) the unique once-for-all Calvary. The person tied to
the cross may be 'Mano Espiridion Miera of our village, but really
and truly (if temporarily and to a limited degree) he has become,
he is, Jesus Christ. 18
The Hispanic people of the latter part of the eighteenth cen-
tury and the first part of the nineteenth, brought up in a strongly
sacramental religion and then abandoned by their priests, needed
to find a satisfying and available substitute for confession, the Mass,
and the Eucharist. Reasserting the inherent priestly character of
every Christian community, they turned especially to the key event
of their faith, the Passion and Death of Christ, to gain some measure
of expiation of their sins and to secure strength to live authentic
lives. Hence the santos, the Christmas and Holy Week dramas, the
penitential practices of the Brothers of Our Father Jesus the
Nazarene, and other analogous popular devotions actually form
a quasi-sacramental system. What the sacraments and the Mass
were to a village with a priest, the santos, penances, wakes, and
enactments of the death of Jesus were to a village without one. A
sacramental sociocultural tradition in which "village membership,
not kinship affiliation or extraterritorial membership, is the basis
of identification" needed to relate not just the separate individuals
but the village as a living community to the system of holiness and
power composed of God, Christ, the Virgin, the angels, and the
saints. And to do so without a priest naturally demanded a strategy
both communal and sacramental. 19
In this interesting age, Post-Modern if not yet Post-Absurd,
Hispanic New Mexicans' self-validation through santos and
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS Q7
ceremonies might instruct us that what we men and women need
above all is our own validation. The various churches offered this
validation in times past throughout Christendom; whenever and
wherever it was present in New Mexico, the Roman Church offered
it in its official and usual manner, and where the official Church
was absent, the penitential Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus offered
that great gift. Like the validation of a santo or that of a ceremony,
the authentication of a person adds little or nothing to his
understanding of himself, but it adds enormously to the assurance
that, like the statue and the devotion, he himself makes sense far
beyond his limited ability to comprehend such things. As the
Brothers sing in one of their alabados:
There is no one now
Who is not worth something;
Christ is already dead. 20
1. These sacred persons and pattern-setting actions take the place of the
Platonic ideas, for this is not a Platonism of knowledge but of being. The impor-
tant thing is not a flow of knowledge or explanation— from the more intelligible
to the less intelligible— but a validating participation of the power-holiness of
the greater (saint or saving event) by the lesser (santo or cultic ritual).
In Platonism, ideas exist independently of human thought and guarantee
the things of which they are ideas; thus a horse participates in (without ex-
hausting) the idea "horse" and is intelligible and indeed real because of its sharing
in the validating power of the idea. In Aristotelianism, by contrast, things exist
independently of thought and guarantee the ideas derived from them; thus the
idea of horse is valid and true because it springs in human thinking from some
real horse or horses. In Platonism, consequently, everything is a symbol reify-
ing its idea, and due to its participation in the idea it renders the idea as con-
cretely present as it can be; a thing is hence a natural symbol, its very being is
dependent on this fact, and it cannot be adequately separated from the being
of the idea. In Aristotelianism, symbols are all artificial and— within limits-
arbitrary, and are hence always adequately and really distinct from that which
To quote Karl Rahner on this point: "We call attention only in passing to the
theology of the sacred image in Christianity. An exact investigation into the history
of this theology would no doubt have to call attention to a two-fold concept of
SANTOS AND SAINTS
image which is presented by tradition. One, more Aristotelian, treats the image
as an outward sign of a reality distinct from the image, a merely pedagogical in-
dication provided for man as a being who knows through the senses. The other
is more Platonic, and in this conception the image participates in the reality of
the exemplar— brings about the real presence of the exemplar which dwells in
the image." Theological Investigations IV (Baltimore: Helicon Press, 1966), 243.
2. The archetypes that the primal religions projected backwards into "il-
lud tempus— beginning time" Plato rendered static and essentialist and projected
into the world of ideas. Subsequently, Augustine asserted them to be in the mind
of God (especially in the memory of the Father), and Jung put them in the col-
lective unconscious; "folk Platonism" sets them in heaven. Mircea Eliade, The
Myth of the Eternal Return (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965), 6-7, 34-35;
Margaret Finch, Style in Art History (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1974), 85.
Putting Jacques Maritain, Carl Jung, and Erich Neumann together, we might say
that the creative idea emerges from the collective unconscious where it previously
lurked as an archetypal exemplar begging to be expressed outwardly, and that
during the Renaissance it became a dominant conscious motive in an
increasingly-reflective individual consciousness.
3. Christianity goes radically beyond and even contrary to the Platonic
scheme of static essences ("ideas") by placing the all-important redemptive
paradigm, Christ dying crucified, squarely in clock- and-calendar time. As Paul
accurately saw, to the gentiles this was foolishness and absurdity (1 Cor. 1: 23),
since the Hellenized gentiles could not imagine that anything eternally valid
could arise in time and space and matter and be narrative and existential.
As for the santos: the normal and appropriate setting of most retablos and
bultos is on the wall, on the shelf, or in the nicho, receiving prayers and transmit-
ting them to the holy person who is in heaven as well as present in a limited
manner in the santo. The big bultos of Christ in his passion were made for
dramatic rituals, performing the sacred action. See George Mills, The People of
the Saints (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1967), 61.
4. "Always and everywhere men have had the conviction that in gestures
and rites and figurative representations, what is signified and pointed to is in
fact present precisely because it is 'represented'; and this conviction should not
be rejected off-hand as 'analogy-magic'"; Karl Rahner, The Church and the
Sacraments (New York: Herder and Herder, 1963), 36.
All interaction with a santo tends to evoke a ritual context, and we may
suspect that many a piece of myth or folklore originated from ritual, not the other
way around. A prime example is the Santo Nino de Atocha origin tale as Yvonne
Lange has researched it (see Chapter IV).
5. Thomas J. Steele, S.J., "The Spanish Passion Play in New Mexico and
Colorado," New Mexico Historical Review 53 (1978), 239-59. Another source of the
passion plays may be found in the priests' Good Friday sermons such as the one
treated in William Wroth, Images of Penance, Images of Mercy: Southwestern Santos
in the Late Nineteenth Century (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991),
21-23, and one preached in Santa Fe in 1821.
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS
6. Josiah Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies in Reuben Gold Thwaites, ed., Diary
of Early Western Travels (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1905), vol. 20, 48. See also
W.W.H. Davis's descriptions of Santa Fe's Holy Thursday and Good Friday pro-
cessions in El Gringo, or, New Mexico and Her People (New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1857), 345-46.
7. "[D]el vecindario, el que algunas veces hace en esta capilla su funcion
de Semana Santa"— Biblioteca Nacional, Mexico, legajo 10, numero 43; photostat
pages 4279-80, Coronado Room, University of New Mexico Libraries; Dommguez,
The Missions of New Mexico, 1776, trs, eds., Eleanor B. Adams and Fray Angelico
Chavez (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1956), 154.
8. Horence Hawley Ellis, "Passion Play in New Mexico," New Mexico Quarter-
ly 22 (1952), 203. See also John E. Englekirk, "The Passion Play in New Mexico,"
Western Folklore 25 (1966), 17-33, 105-21; Steele, Holy Week in Tome: A New Mexico
Passion Play (Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 1976), for Spanish and English texts with
some commentary; Steele, "The Spanish Passion Play," 243-46.
9. F. Stanley, The Tome New Mexico Story (Pep, Texas: F. Stanley, 1966), 8;
Gregg, Commerce, 181.
10. The best single book on the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus is Marta
Weigle, Brothers of Light, Brothers of Blood: The Penitentes of the Southwest (1976;
rpt., Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1989); her compilation, Penitente Bibliography
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976), is the companion. See
also Thomas J. Steele, S.J., and Rowena A. Rivera, Penitente Self-Govemment (Santa
Fe: Ancient City Press, 1985), on district and regional government among the
various village chapters. Wroth, 40-52, studies the early documentation of the
Brotherhood and the subsequent historiography.
Good older accounts are: Fray Angelico Chavez, "The Penitentes of New
Mexico," New Mexico Historical Review 29 (1954), 97-123; George Mills and Richard
Grove, Lucifer and the Crucifer: The Enigma of the Penitentes (Colorado Springs: The
Taylor Museum, 1966); Bill Tate, The Penitentes of the Sangre de Cristos (Truchas
The Tate Gallery, 1966); Marta Weigle, The Penitentes of the Southwest (Santa Fe
Ancient City Press, 1970); and Lorenzo de Cordova, Echoes of the Flute (Santa Fe
Ancient City Press, 1972).
Most scholars seem to agree that the New Mexican Brotherhood arose in the
Santa Cruz Valley, and in 1840 when Gregg saw the penitential cross-bearer, Tome
would have been near the southern rim of its geographical spread.
11. Weigle, Brothers of Light, 151-53; C. Gilbert Romero, Hispanic Devotional
Piety: Tracing the Biblical Roots (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1991), 104.
The Brotherhood seems to me to follow many organizational models. Fray
Angelico Chavez suggested the Seville Confraternity as a likely source outside
the colony, for they too used the extraordinary title Nuestro Padre— Our Father-
to refer to Jesus Christ. William Wroth has identified various specifically peniten-
tial organizations in New Spain (Mexico), principally La Santa Escuela de
Cristo— The Holy School of Christ— as analogues and sources of the New Mex-
ican "Fraternidad Piadosa de Sangre de Cristo" or later "de Nuestro Padre Jesus
Nazareno." Even within the northern colony there were many confraternities and
100 SANTOS AND SAINTS
pious parish societies, including the Franciscan Third Order of men and women,
but no one of them had an exclusive influence on the Brotherhood as organiza-
tion. For a variety of interpretations, see Fray Angelico Chavez, "Penitentes of
New Mexico," 97-123; Weigle, Brothers of Light, 26-51; Steele and Rivera, Penitente
Self -Government, 7-8, 10-11; William Wroth, Images of Penance, 35-42; J. Manuel
Espinosa, "The Origin of the Penitentes of New Mexico: Separating Fact from
Fiction," Catholic Historical Review 79 (1993), 454-77.
12. See Steele and Rivera, Penitente Self -Government, 196-97.
13. Juan Hernandez, "Cactus Whips and Wooden Crosses," journal of
American Folklore, 76 (1963), 221; he agrees with Margaret Mead, Cultural Patterns
and Technical Change (New York: New American Library, 1955), 167, who notes
that for traditional New Mexican Hispanics surgery and accidents "are the source
of considerable anxiety, for to be [deeply] cut or broken in some way damages
the whole person "
14. Wroth, Images of Penance, 40, 44-46, 51, 172-73.
15. In the Reformation and Counterreformation era, the older Platonic
sacramental theology had been replaced by a neo-Aristotelian theory of conjoined
instruments, a Rube-Goldberg system based on creationist, materialist models
and confined almost totally to efficient causality. Such a theology can make no
sense of New Mexican religious activities, for it cannot satisfactorily connect the
mythic pattern-setting deed to the ritual. In the order of efficient causality, the
cause must always be other than the effect, but by contrast in the order of ritual
causality, the sacred ceremony must be identical with the paradigmatic event (the
Last-Supper-to-Pentecost event performed by Christ in and at the edge of
Catholic sacramentalism demands to be understood in parallel with tribal,
archaic religions, where differences of time, place, format, minister, and
beneficiary are erased so that the rite is identically the same event, for it occurs
in the illud tempus. The Christian rite performed today is valid because the rite
is Christ's eternal act of redemption as it concretely affects a particular person
or group and because Christ remains the true celebrant; Louis Bouyer Rite and
Man (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1963), 66; on page 57 he stated
that "What man does in the ritual is a divine action."
16. Wroth, Images of Penance, 130 and 185n20, where he cites especially Cleofas
Jaramillo, Shadows of the Past (1941; rpt. Santa Fe: Ancient City Press, 1972), 61.
17 Weigle, Brothers of Light, 190, 273n5, 275n29; Steele and Rivera, Penitente
Self -Government , 191-95.
18. Cordova, Echoes, 9, maintains that it was considered a signal honor to
be named to enact Cristo— not at all a punishment but indeed a reward for hav-
ing been an outstanding hermano. Richard Gardner, Grito! Reies Tijerina and the
New Mexico Land Grant War of 1967 (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1970), 75-74, passes
along this John Wayne episode: "One little old lady of Rio Arriba recalls stand-
ing as a young child in the placita of San Pedro on the Sangre de Cristo grant
during Good Friday celebrations and receiving the shock of her life when the
THE MIRRORS OF THE HOLY PERSONS 101
call to colors sounded and the United States cavalry thundered in to 'save' a highly
indignant penitent from the cross."
19. Edward P. Dozier, "Peasant Culture and Urbanization: Mexican
Americans in the Southwest," in Philip K. Bock, ed., Peasants in the Modern World
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1969), 144-45. I would like to
register my caveat about Dozier's reference to the compadrazgo (godfather) rela-
tionship as "fictional" and "ritual or fictitious" (151, 153). The sponsors or
witnesses, who represent the Church as community in the conferral of various
sacraments, are made very much of in the Catholic system, most especially as
the Hispanics understand it. Cf . John L. McKenzie, The Roman Catholic Church
(Garden City: Doubleday, 1971), 164-65.
In this context, we might see a solution to George Mills' question in People
of the Saints, 60, why the Hispanic men of New Mexico feel compelled to become
Brothers of Our Father Jesus and do penance: as male authority over others is
sanctioned communally, so is male responsibility for others.
20. Laurence F. Lee, "Los Hermanos Penitentes, El Palacio 8 (1920), 11; I have
never found the Spanish version of the text. Alexander Darley, The Passionists
of the Southwest (Pueblo: author, 1893), 36, evidently translated the same lines
as "There's none unworthy / Since Jesus died," and S. Omar Barker, "Los
Penitentes," Overland Magazine and Out West Magazine 82 (1924), 153, offers "Christ
is now dead / And all are worth saving, / Now give him your soul / For which
he is calling."
Veronica Holding the Triple Rostro (#15a and #139 in Appendix B) by Pedro
Fresquis. In Taos Valley enactments of the passion play, the young woman
who played Veronica held her veil not once but three times to Christ's face.
Courtesy of the Denver Art Museum, Anne Evans Collection, 1936.3.
Saints ana Prayer
I he majority of the saints venerated in New Mexico and
_ I southern Colorado were patrons for certain particular hopes
and protectors against certain fears. In the early 1970s, I did a small
amount of questionnaire work in the region, testing the possibili-
ty of recovering knowledge of this subject. Catholic pastors put me
in touch with a few dozen elderly Hispanics, and I asked them,
in regard to a list of saints, why was each of them prayed to: For
what benefit was this saint asked? For protection from what evil
was that saint petitioned? In this way I learned the hopes and fears
the Hispanics traditionally associated with many of the saints.
By 1970, a great deal of the original information had undoubted-
ly been lost forever, but even that late I was able to recover enough
remnants, both from the questionnaires and from published and
archival sources, to realize that the saint-related system of patrons
and protectors fed more information into a generalized motivational
system drawn up for an agrarian peasant society and gave a far more
complete and accurate picture of New Mexican motivation than did
several standard books on the New Mexico Hispanics taken
together. This descriptive definition applies best of all to Hispanic
104 SANTOS AND SAINTS
New Mexicans of the first three quarters of the nineteenth
century— before the arrival of the railroad in 1879-80— though it
probably applied to the people of smaller out-of-the-way villages
down to the Second World War. 1
The eighteenth and nineteenth-century New Mexican lived in
a peasant society quite isolated from its "great tradition, ,, the
metropolitan tradition of king and archbishop realized fully in
Madrid and fairly completely in Mexico City. By contrast, a peasant
society is a small agricultural village which is not quite indepen-
dent of the capital city, not quite complete in itself. Peasants form
the broad and strong foundation of the entire composite traditional
society, and consequently they must be defined within that larger
context. By means of their agricultural surpluses the peasants in-
deed support the non-agricultural specialist workers and rulers, and
in past ages the peasant was arguably the origin of all economic
The farming villages in New Mexico were unusually isolated
from their market towns and even from one another. 2 In the few
market towns that existed, people did their business more by barter
than by cash, just as in the villages themselves transactions were
carried on by gift-exchange and work-sharing more often than by
barter. The people of the farming villages needed only a few things
from the market towns and the even greater world that those towns
mediated: some necessary tools, particularly those of metal like
saws and axes, and metal itself to be worked up locally. European-
style weapons came from the larger society by way of the towns:
guns, swords, and the "business end" of halberds and lances. Some
dyes were imported into the colony for the woolen cloth made by
the Hispanics and Pueblos; these dyes often turned up, as already
noted, among the santero's materials. And any truly fine clothing
for special occasions, like weddings and feast days, came into the
colony from outside.
From the local region the villagers obtained a few more things,
especially salt, pottery, and santos made by the specialist santeros.
Specialists within the home village included the curandera (a woman
skilled in herbal folk medicine), the partem (midwife), the
blacksmith, the carpenter, and (as the population outgrew the land
SAINTSAND PRAYER 105
base in the early nineteenth century) the Hispanic potter. But each
extended family provided from its own labor and talents the vast
majority of what it needed to live. Their animals— sheep and goats,
cattle and pigs, burros and horses— provided work, meat, hides
and wool for clothing, and grease for candles. The people cut timber
for fuel, for their few items of furniture, for vigas and lintels. And
finally, the earth itself provided the adobe and rock for the house,
multiple crops for food and other uses, and the remainder of the
During its years of isolation, New Mexico experienced a signifi-
cant decline in effective energy-use due to a decline in its weapon
and tool technology, especially farming implements. The people
spent more manpower and more manhours performing the same
tasks of defense and cultivation than they had at the beginning of
the colonial period. In the colony's earliest years, the settlers had
been relatively well supplied with weapons with which to subdue
the Pueblo Indians and coerce work from them which the Spanish
later had to do themselves. When weapons and armor of the Euro-
pean sort broke or wore out, makeshift bows and arrows, buffalo-
hide shields and jackets, and lances with fire-hardened wooden
tips replaced them. And when the well-made farm tools they had
brought from New Spain broke, they had to fashion homemade
plows, pitchforks, scythes, sickles, shovels, hoes, and so forth, tools
that took more work to use when they were homemade than did
those made in commercial workshops by specialized craftsmen. 3
The New Mexican world, by contrast to the urban life of the
"great tradition" of its own day, was made up of numerous semi-
isolated extended-family peasant village communities, each of
which had to provide most of what it consumed. As Karl Marx
wrote of the nineteenth-century French peasantry: "Each individual
peasant family is almost self-sufficient; it itself directly produces
the major part of its consumption and it acquires its means of life
more through exchange with nature than in intercourse with
Peasant religion has always been utilitarian and moralistic—
that is to say, practical, pragmatic, and directed to the concrete social
roles and duties each member must perform faithfully if the social
106 SANTOS AND SAINTS
order is to survive, remain stable, and perhaps even flourish. Hence
it will curb aggressiveness, competitiveness, and individualism,
socialize the members of the peasant society by spotlighting their
dependence upon the group, and sanction the unquestioning fulfill-
ment of routine tasks. As Robert Redfield has summed it up, the
peasant's values center around "an intense attachment to native soil;
a reverent disposition toward habitat and ancestral ways; a restraint
on individual self-seeking in favor of family and community; a cer-
tain suspiciousness, mixed with appreciation, of town life; a sober
and earthy ethic. 5
Because they founded their Catholic religious practice on values
like these, New Mexicans were resourceful enough to survive in
the face of a practically total abandonment by the "great tradition"
of Spain, New Spain, and the Mexican Republic. By the nineteenth
century, this "great tradition" existed for the most part as a psy-
chological awareness on the farthest horizon of consciousness as
the fundamental guaranteeing and validating factor of their com-
munity life as citizens of the Spanish Empire and as Catholics.
Political validation began with the royal court in far-off Madrid,
passed through the viceroy in Mexico City and the governor in San-
ta Fe, and finally attained the alcalde in the nearest town. Religious
validation began with the papal court and the Franciscan superior-
general in Rome, passed through the Franciscan provincial in
Zacatecas, the bishop of Durango, and the custos in Santo Dom-
ingo, and eventually trickled down to the priest in the nearest parish
church. There was little impact left when these affirmations of their
existence finally reached the people of some outlying village in
manual contact with their land.
Close to the land as they were, nineteenth-century New Mex-
ico peasants lived lives marked by a large number of customs
surviving from, reverting to, or at least reminiscent of the Middle
Ages. Moreover, New Mexico repeated the original medieval syn-
thesis of classical (or Renaissance) survivals; Christianity; and
retribalization, detribalization, and acculturation (of Germanic
tribesmen in Europe, of Native Americans in the new world). Two
further factors especially reinforced this New Mexican medievalism:
the Recopilacion de las leyes de las Indias, The compilation of royal
The Triple Rostro (#15a in Appendix B) by an unknown artist, probably
about 1935. In Taos Valley enactments of the passion play, the young woman
who represented Veronica held her veil not once but three times to Christ's
face. From a private collection, with permission.
108 SANTOS AND SAINTS
decrees that mandated for the colonies a lifestyle based on a generic
medieval Iberian townlife, and the Franciscan friars' mainstream
medieval Catholic spirituality. Taken together, all of these factors
gave rise to a believing community that prayed and worshipped
in common, doing rituals together that implicitly but very effec-
tively committed the faithful to live out in their daily lives what they
acted out in their rituals, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus not only
during Holy Week but all the days of the year.
Totally devoid of Renaissance or Romantic hunger for novelties,
the New Mexican peasant, like any other peasant, had instead a
desire for what Eric Wolf refers to as "that sense of continuity which
renders life predictable and hence meaningful ." 6 New Mexican
santos enhanced this predictable and meaningful dimension of
village life, for they make up a set of visual "commonplaces'' where
the verbal epithets of rhetorical commonplaces are replaced by the
santos' visual attributes, their significant iconographic traits. The
santos are a central component of system which is both visual
(because pictorial) and oral (because of the legends, prayers, and
associations passed down by word of mouth about the vast ma-
jority of the saints the santeros represented). The santo subjects tally
with the people's hopes and fears in such a way as to provide a key
component in a motivational system that enables the believer to
prevail upon God and the saints to control the world for the benefit
and protection of mankind.
Not every single saint was patron of some special hope or fear,
and some saints were petitioned for as many as ten needs. Con-
versely, certain needs cannot be shown to correspond to any of the
saints, other needs were submitted to several saints, and some other
"felt needs" were probably not submitted to any saint since they
were felt to be beneath the dignity of sainthood. Nevertheless, the
considerable correlation between saints and needs meant that the
New Mexican Christian had a way to interpret nearly every major
opportunity or major problem, a way to hope for heavenly aid when
mere human means seemed vain.
Some comments on particular hopes and fears offer a more con-
crete sense of the motivational system:
• With regard to protection against sickness (1.113), Margaret
SAINTSAND PRAYER 109
Mead offers a helpful remark: "There is a sort of persistent
hypochondria. . . . not characterized by general complaints of feel-
ing bad 'all over! ... By projecting the trouble onto a specific body-
part, totality is protected." 7 The list of sicknesses submitted to the
care of individual specialist saints— trouble with teeth, eyes, skin,
plague (usually smallpox or bubonic plague), and burns— suggests
that ordinary saints were felt to have less power than they would
need in order to penetrate to the "innards" where more serious and
mysterious ailments reside, and that such troubles would need to
be submitted to the Holy Child of Atocha, the Sacred Heart,
Nuestra Sehora del Socorro— even to Santa Rita de Casia as the
patroness of hopeless cases. The wounds that a man receives while
performing corporal penance, as has been noted above, fall into the
superficial class, never involving the amputation even of a finger
(a practice in some Native American tribes), penetration into the
body cavity, or nailing of the hands or feet. If people suspected that
someone's insanity was a result of witchcraft, they would have sub-
mitted it to the care of San Ignacio de Loyola, but otherwise they
would simply have left it in God's care. There was an Iberian tradi-
tion that the insane were especially touched by God, and some
Native Americans had a like attitude, but Ari Kiev's study of Texas
folk medicine points out that Texas Mexicans viewed madness as
often "punishment from God." 8
• All the saints prayed to with regard to intemperance (1.114)
seem also to have been invoked against sexual misbehavior but not
against drunkenness or drug-use, which were apparently not
significant problems in the period before the American incursion. 9
• Several persons who responded to the questionnaire made a
point of saying that Doha Sebastiana, the allegorical personifica-
tion of Death, was not invoked as a saint would be, that she served
instead merely as a reminder of the possibility of death (1.115); only
one respondent mentioned persons invoking her. This information
casts doubt on the caption in Mills and Grove's study of the
Brotherhood which says that Doha Sebastiana "is appealed to for
long life" and on Ely Leyba's remark that persons "would pray to
the image of Sebastiana that their lives would be prolonged." 10 By
contrast, una buena muerte (a good death in the state of grace
110 SANTOS AND SAINTS
resulting in admission into heaven) was a favor fervently to be
prayed for— though it need not hurry.
• Granted that childbirth (1.121) was not considered pathological,
still its very real dangers were taken to San Ramon Nonato ("Non-
natus" means "not born"; he was a Caesarean delivery after his
mother had died), the patron of midwives, women in pregnancy
and childbirth, and the unborn. 11
• The suppliant prayed to San Cayetano, patron of gamblers
(1.1252), by saying, "111 bet you a rosary in your honor you don't
do this favor for me." There is nothing about gambling in the
biography of San Cayetano, just as there is nothing about dancing
in the life of San Luis Gonzaga.
• The Renaissance norms and values that continued to influence
church architecture in New Mexico did not translate very effectively
into domestic architecture or into religious painting. Exact symmetry
(1.127) was only very rarely— and then probably accidentally— a
property of santos; retablos are more often than not noticeably non-
rectangular, and many of them hung for upwards of a hundred
years crooked on the walls of New Mexico homes and chapels.
• The old opinion about New Mexican deemphasis on learning
(1.211, 1.221) might need modification. Santo Tomas de Aquino,
a patron of scholarly activities, appeared only once in the sample
of a thousand santos, but Santa Gertrudis, who appeared fifteen
times in all, was associated with youth and school twice in six
answers, while her official status as Patron of the Spanish Americas
got no mention. The New Mexican villagers were aware, as noted,
that there was a "great tradition"; and even though they may have
had no practical use for it for their own immediate purposes, they
respected it, felt that it validated their existences from a distance,
and hoped their children or grandchildren might by some lucky
stroke come to participate in it. When the railroad arrived in 1879-80,
created "New Towns" in Las Vegas and Albuquerque, and seemed
to bring a North-American "great tradition" into New Mexico, the
Hispanics evidenced a great hunger for the sort of education that
would suit their children for that new life. 12
• The only three saints who appear in the category "Achievement"
(1.3)— Juan Bautista, Pascual Baylon, and Antonio de Padua—
SAINTSAND PRAYER 111
were associated with strayed animals and lost things. That nothing
was said about animals or things stolen was probably due to the
situation in the old extended family villages, where apart from war-
time incursions by wild Indians, there was little likelihood of theft,
burglary, or robbery. There was instead a tendency toward com-
munal usage of many things privately owned— tools to be bor-
rowed, and so forth— with the whole village to some degree at least
co-responsible for everything in the village.
• All the saints that had to do with ridding oneself of general-
ized sin (1.311, 1.312, 2.111, 2.112) seem to have been connected
with the penitential Brotherhood, and all these saints and all other
saints who had to do with getting rid of particular sinfulness (e.g.,
sexual; see 1.114) were prayed to on behalf of others. There was,
in other words, a group dimension to New Mexican sin-
consciousness, whether it was one's own or another's, which points
to a communal honor-and-shame culture rather than to a mere in-
dividualistic guilt culture. An interpersonal reaction to one's own
wrongdoing (shame) called for a communal cleansing (penance
done in a group); and hence we should see the "death" of the
Brother chosen to be the Cristo as not merely an individual but
clearly a village expiation: the Brother who dies as Christ dies, like
Christ, "for the sins of the whole people" (John 12:50).
• A happy death was a standard object of prayer, but this is the
only benefit belonging to a distant and vague future (1.324), one
which does not answer a present need, that the people asked of
the saints. Perhaps the people did not worry overly much about
the remote future, sensibly taking of matters at hand as well as they
could and letting the year after next take care of itself.
• The statistics relating to the two patrons of Brotherhood
anonymity (2.1233), San Juan Nepomuceno and San Ramon
Nonato, suggest that the Brothers of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene
adopted them quite early, though Brotherhood circumspection
doubtless increased during the nineteenth century. The Mexico-
trained diocesan clergy had imbibed some of the values of the ra-
tionalistic Enlightenment and took a dim view of the Brothers' public
penances, which appeared (and were) quite medieval. In 1833,
when Bishop Zubirfa had announced his intended visitation of New
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Saint Anthony of Padua (#59 in
Appendix B) with the body by
Jose Rafael Aragon or the Santo
Nino Santero, the head by Jose
Benito Ortega, and the Christ
Child by Jose de Gracia Gon-
zales. This is not so much a
connoisseur's objet d'art as a
teacher's illustration, since it
shows clearly how in earlier
times holy fragments were not
discarded but recycled. Regis
SAINTSAND PRAYER 113
Mexico (the first bishop to travel there since 1760), Padre Antonio
Jose Martinez wrote him a very circumstantial and negative descrip-
tion of the Brothers' public rituals, thereby contributing to the
Bishop's order to the Brothers to cease and desist. The Anglo-
Americans were a parallel factor. Marta Weigle notes that "When
the Anglos began to move into the region after 1821, they reported
rituals of a nonsecret religion practiced by much of the population/'
but she adds that penances performed during the day in a village
were always done in a venda (hood) "more to insure humility than
to hide from authorities." Mary Austin had suggested much the
same about the origins of the Brothers' anonymity, that the original
motive was "the moral necessity of protecting [the] penitents from
spiritual pride by concealing their identity under the black bag
which is still worn by flagelantes in all public processions." 13
Hence it seems that anonymity predated the entrance of Bishop
Zubiria, the Anglo Protestants, and the French Catholic clergy, and
the relocation of the ceremonies to places outside the villages.
• The section on the family (2.1235) includes at least two patrons
for each of the main subdivisions, and many of the saints, such as
San Francisco de Asfs, Santa Gertrudis, San Jose Patriarca, Santa
Rita de Casia, and San Antonio de Padua, were very popular and
very frequently represented by the older santeros. It is worth note
that a girl's need for help in finding a husband was the object of
a devotion, but not a boy's in finding a wife.
• There was no saint for the very important New Mexican institu-
tions of godfather, godmother, godchild, compadre, or comadre,
so perhaps these relationships were subsumed under the basic
familial positions of status: father, mother, child, brother, or sister
(2.3113). But in practice the baptismal relationships actually
outweighed the natural, so that for instance if a man served as god-
father for his blood brother's child, he and his brother would ad-
dress each other for the rest of their lives as "compadre." 14
• The problems of travelers (2.3114 in Appendix E) and of cap-
tives (2.3115) seem to have been quite important in New Mexico
during the last century. Granted a lot of duplication of statistics bet-
ween saints associated with the two dangers, traveling is connected
114 SANTOS AND SAINTS
with 6.8% of the sample of a thousand santos (Appendix B), im-
prisonment with 3.6%.
This motivational study of the New Mexico Spanish of the nine-
teenth century portrays a people with a special relationship both
to the deity and the saints who are portrayed in santero art. The
saints, as they are aligned with the needs— the hopes and fears—
associated with them, constitute a particular motivational economy
which, while it is not complete in all respects, is a necessary sup-
plement to all other accounts of the New Mexico Hispanics of a cen-
tury ago: "The People of the Saints," as George Mills well named
them in the title of his book, cannot be known accurately apart from
their saints. The santos— the wooden saints, retablos and bultos—
were components of a power-system which reached from earth to
heaven and controlled hell, and in so doing protected the culture
(including the power-system itself) from that worst of all disasters,
a people's loss of confidence in their way of life. The New Mexicans
of the last century could not physically control their world through
technology, but whenever they needed help from the distant past
or from another world altogether, they found that help through
means at hand. They knelt before their santos and prayed to the
saints, and they have endured.
1. The whole generalized motivational chart appears as Appendix E.
Fromm and Maccoby have defined a people's social character as "a character struc-
ture common to most members of groups or classes within a given society ... a
'character matrix,' a syndrome of character traits which has developed as an adap-
tion to the economic, social, and cultural conditions common to that group." Erich
Fromm and Michael Maccoby, Social Character in a Mexican Village (Englewood
Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970), 16.
2. There was a story told of a little mountain village in the northern part
of the colony which was neither attacked nor overcome during the Pueblo
Rebellion of 1680, that was not even aware that anything at all had happened
until the Spanish settlers returned a dozen years later; the village was used to
being left alone. The story was absolutely not true, but the fact that it could be
told with a straight face suggests the vastness of isolation in the furthest
SAINTSAND PRAYER 115
backwaters of the New Mexican past.
3. The settled population of New Mexico, counting both the Spanish and
the Pueblo Indians, appears to have declined in the first century and a half of
the colony's history. Disease not associated with malnutrition probably played
the major role in this decline, but the food and energy crisis fostered by the tool-
and-weapon decline probably caused an appreciable part of the major popula-
See especially D.W. Meinig, Southwest (New York: Oxford University Press,
1971), 13. Eric R. Wolf, Sons of the Shaking Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1959), states that "Between 1519 and 1650, six-sevenths of the Indian
population of Middle America was wiped out" (195); he gives a cogent argument
in terms of energy-use (198-211). For other particulars, Wolf, 160, notes that "Only
one plow, of the many [types of] Spanish plows, was transmitted to the New
World," and Irving A. Leonard, The Books of the Brave (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1949), 242, notes that the Spanish Crown "had forbidden the
manufacture of arms in the colonies and had severely limited the importation
of them from the homeland." The weapons shortage appeared in Chapter IV in
connection with Santiago.
4. Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon in Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels, Selected Works (New York: International Publishers, 1968), 172.
Marx means that the French peasants did not interact with the national economic
society; they had, of course, constant interaction with the social fabric of the
5. Robert Redfield, Peasant Society and Culture (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1960), 78; see also Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Social Classes in Agrarian
Societies (1970; rpt., Garden City: Doubleday 1975), 66-67. Frances Swadesh, "The
Social and Philosophical Context of Creativity in New Mexico," Rocky Mountain
Social Science Journal 9 (1972), 15, comments that "In New Mexico, the most ad-
mired personality configuration centers on reserve, coupled with sensitive
perceptions of the feelings of others, frequently communicated by nonverbal
Michael Candelaria, Popular Religion and Liberation (Albany: SUNY Press,
1990), 30-33, cites Gilberto Gimenez as attributing the following traits (to which
I have added a few annotations) to popular religion as contrasted to the religion
of the ruling classes: popular religion belongs to a subordinate, rural, local
culture; it is a religion of salvation, of the poor, and of the laity; it is
unsystematized-prethematic, mythical-lyric and folkloric-narrative, vernacular-
oral, practical and useful (rather than commodified); and it relies on traditional
authority (rather than on hierarchical-bureaucratic authoritarianism).
6. Eric R. Wolf, Peasants (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1966), 98. As
Father Ong points out, "Romanticism appears as a result of man's noetic con-
trol over nature, a counterpart of technology, which matures in the same regions
in the West as romanticism and at about the same time, and which likewise
derives from control over nature made possible by writing and even more by print
as means of knowledge storage and retrieval"; Walter J. Ong, S.J., Rhetoric,
116 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Romance, and Technology (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1971), 20.
Preconditions for Romanticism, in other words, are to be found in Newton's
mathematicizing of the universe (Principia, 1687) and James Watt's invention of
the steam engine (1769). Then for the first time in his multimillion year career,
man could comfortably confront nature, which hitherto has been overwhelm-
ingly threatening, knowing that he could always fall back upon the comparatively
safe world promised him by science and technology.
Swadesh, "Social and Philosophical Context," 16, adds, "New Mexican
perceptions of the relationship between Man and Nature do not apparently lead
to the celebration of Nature for its own sake, which is characteristic, for exam-
ple, of the poetry of Wordsworth."
7. Margaret Mead, Cultural Patterns and Technical Change (New York: New
American Library, 1955), 184.
8. Ari Kiev, Curanderismo: Mexican-American Folk Psychiatry (New York Free
Press, 1968), xi.
9. Erna Fergusson, Albuquerque (Albuquerque: Merle Armitage, 1947), 29.
10. George Mills and Richard Grove, Lucifer and the Crucifer: The Enigma of
the Penitentes (Colorado Springs: Taylor Museum, 1966), 14; Ely Leyba, "The
Church of the Twelve Apostles," New Mexico Magazine 11 (1933), 49.
11. Mead, ed., Cultural Patterns and Technical Change, 172.
12. Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Works and Days: A History of San Felipe Neri Church
(Albuquerque: Albuquerque Museum, 1983), 101: "Many boys— not only Pro-
testants but Catholics as well— attended [a school sponsored by a Protestant
church] out of what I would call a sheer necessity of learning English, for in these
parts its use is so necessary for trade with the Americans of the United States
that the Spanish people make great and protracted sacrifices to send their boys
to schools where it is taught."
13. William Wroth, Images of Penance, Images of Mercy (Norman: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1991), 40, 44-47, 50-51, 167, and especially 172-73.
Marta Weigle, The Penitentes of the Southwest (Santa Fe: Ancient City Press,
1970), 32, 35-36. In her notes to Lorenzo de Cordova's Echoes of the Flute (Santa
Fe: Ancient City Press, 1972), 51, Weigle says that secrecy increased after the Civil
War; Weigle, Brothers of Light, Brothers of Blood (Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press, 1976), 75, 90-93, 102, 141-42, 149; Weigle, "Ghostly Flagellants and
Doha Sebastiana: Two Legends of the Penitente Brotherhood," Western Folklore
36 (1977), 135-47; Mary Austin, Land of Journeys' Ending (New York: The Century
Company, 1924), 353.
14. Lorin W Brown, "'Compadres' and 'Comadres,'" W.P.A. Writers' Pro-
ject, New Mexico, History Library, Museum of New Mexico, 5-5-2 # 1, p. 3: "The
new compadres treat each other by that title from then on and by no other, even
though they be brothers. This new bond is more sacred and supercedes all others.
The new ritual of courtesy takes place in all their contacts, both social and in a
business way"; also Brown, Hispano Folklife in New Mexico, ed. Charles L. Briggs
and Marta Weigle (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1978), 119.
See also Swadesh, "Social and Philosophical Context," 12.
A CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SANTEROS
In each instance, the dates given are the dates the santero may be guessed to
have worked. Supplementary information is added, as well as a bibliographical
reference of the shortest effective sort, using these abbreviations:
CI: William Wroth, Christian Images in Hispanic New Mexico.
Colorado Springs: Taylor Musuem, 1982.
Cross and Sword: Jean Stern, ed., The Cross and the Sword. San
Diego: Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego, 1976.
IPIM: William Wroth, Images of Penance, Images of Mercy. Nor-
man: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.
NKS: Larry Frank, New Kingdom of the Saints. Santa Fe: Red
Crane Books, 1992.
NMMag: New Mexico Magazine.
PAC: E. Boyd, Popular Arts of Colonial New Mexico. Santa Fe:
Museum of New Mexico Press, 1959.
PASNM: E. Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish New Mexico. Santa
Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1974.
Saints: Jose E. Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys. Albuquerque:
University of New Mexico Press, 1960, 1967.
"Santero." E. Boyd, "The New Mexico Santero," El Palacio 76,
1 (1969), 1-24; also published as a booklet.
Wallrich: William Wallrich, "The Santero Tradition in the San
Luis Valley," Western Folklore 10 (1951), 153-61.
Wood Carvers: Charles L. Briggs, The Wood Carvers of Cordova,
New Mexico. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press,
1980; Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press,
1587 Jose Manuel Montolla and Montolla de Pacheco— supposed
painters of the Trampas altarscreens; NMMag 11 (1933), 52. See
instead 1756 Miera, 1785 Fresquis, and 1865 Gonzales.
120 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Immigrants into the colony started this tradition from the Mexican Ren-
aissance styles then current in New Spain. By the end of the eighteenth
century it had become a vernacular (''folk'') tradition carried on by
Hispanics born in the villages of New Mexico.
The santeros of the earliest period were mainly if not entirely
located in Santa Fe or Santa Cruz or in the conventos (rectories)
of pueblo missions.
1695-1720 "Franciscan F" was a painter of hide paintings more ren-
aissance than baroque in spirit, who did not make use of
"architectural" borders. "Santero," 3-5; Popular Arts of
Spanish New Mexico, 121.
1705-1730 Francisco Xavier Romero, born in Mexico City, resident of
Santa Cruz de la Canada, shoemaker, surgeon, scamp, and
likely santero of the hidepainting style-group Boyd at-
tributed to the anonymous "Franciscan B." He was a more
baroque stylist of hide paintings than "Franciscan F."
"Santero," 5; PASNM, 122; Steele in Thomas E. Chavez, ed.,
Segesser Anthology (Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press,
1745-1749 (Anonymous) Painter of an oil painting of San Miguel in
the Church of San Miguel in Santa Fe, given by the com-
mander Don Miguel Saenz de Garvisu. PAC, 24.
Again, these later artists mainly if not entirely resided in Santa
Fe, in Santa Cruz, or in conventos.
1750-1778 Fray Andres Garcia decorated many pueblo churches as
well as the Hispanic parish churches at Albuquerque, Santa
Fe, and Santa Cruz. He tended to paint faces very red.
"Santero," 6-7; Saints, 23-24; PASNM, 96-98; CI, 59-68; NKS
1753-1755 Fray Juan Jose Toledo made some statues. PAC, 24.
1759-60 The artists of the Castrense (Cristo Rey) altarscreen.
1756-1789 Don Bernardo Miera y Pacheco, a Spanish-born military
cartographer. Artist of Castrense altarscreen; Mirabal and
Carrillo. Made images for the pueblo churches at Nambe,
APPENDIX A 121
Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Acoma, and Zuni, for San
Miguel in Santa Fe, and the chapel in Trampas. Imitators.
Mentioned by Pino in Carroll, ed., Three New Mexican
Chronicles, 99; "Santera," 7; PASNM, 98-110; CI, 51-54; NKS,
1765-1815 Manuel Miera, son of Bernardo. A soldier in Santa Fe and
a family man in Santa Cruz, listed as a painter in a 1779
1775-1810 (Anonymous) makers of gesso-relief panels, possibly in-
cluding a priest from Mexico. "Santero," 7; PASNM, 145-49;
1780-1800? (Anonymous) "Eighteenth-Century Novice" was a copyist
of oil paintings who often used red underpainting.
"Santero," 7-8; PASNM, 109-10; CI, 55-59; NKS, 68-69.
The santeros of the classical period lived, so far as we know, in
villages in the central region, not in Santa Fe.
1785-1831 Pedro Antonio Fresquis of Las Truchas, probably the first
native-born santero, did work in Trampas, Truchas,
Chamita, Santa Cruz, and Nambe and in the Rosario
Chapel in Santa Fe. He tended toward space-filling designs,
dark backgrounds, and sgraffito. "Santero," 8-10; PASNM,
327-40; CI, 170-84; Love, Santa Fean 12 #11 (December 1984),
20-22; NKS, 36-65.
1795-1830 The Santero of the Delicate Crucifixes, very similar to Fres-
quis. NKS, 63-65.
1790-1809 (Anonymous) "Laguna Santero" decorated the churches at
Acoma, Laguna, Zia, Santa Ana, San Felipe, and Pojoaque.
He appears to have had more contact with European and
Mexican art than did Fresquis. Imitators, especially
Molleno. "Santero," 10; PASNM 155, 166-69; Marsha Bol,
"The Anonymous Artist of Laguna and the New Mexican
Colonial Altar Screen," M. A. thesis, UNM, 1980; CI, 69-82,
92-93; NKS, 66-81.
c. 1800-1850 Antonio Molleno, formerly known as the "Chili Painter,"
painter of progressively more stylized retablos, carver of
bultos, very occasional painter of hides. Imitators.
"Santero," 10-12; PASNM, 349-65; CI, 93-99; NKS, 82-107.
1810-30 Master of the Lattice-Work Cross. NKS, 146, 150-53.
1810-30 Santero of the Mountain Village Crucifixes. NKS, 146-48,
122 SANTOS AND SAINTS
1810-1840? Antonio Silva of Adelino, identified as the carver of the
crucifix and Nuestra Senora of Tome church. Saints, 38, 50;
NMMag 51 # 7-8 (July-August 1973), 21; Albuquerque Journal
"Metro'' (9 April 1993), 1, 4.
1810-50? Juan Flores, San Miguel-Las Vegas area. PASNM, 430.
1818 Juan Gutierrez of Alburquerque. In Archives of the Ar-
chdiocese of Santa Fe, loose document 1816, # 18, p. 16r
(53:666r), may refer either to Juan Antonio, b. 1795 at Ber-
nalillo, son of Lt. don Juan Miguel, m. 19 July 1818 at Albur-
querque to Maria Rosalia Anaya, or to Juan Jose Pascual
Domingo, b. 1793 at Sandia, m. 20 January 1818 at Albur-
querque to Maria Manuela Gallegos, d. 22 May 1839 in
1820-1835 Jose Aragon of Chamisal, Spanish-born but perfectly ac-
culturated to New Mexico's santero tradition, was a painter
and carver of works that are, along with Rafael Aragon's,
among the easiest to like of the New Mexican tradition. Im-
itators. "Santero," 13-14; PASNM, 366-75; CI, 105-14; NKS,
1820-1870 Arroyo Hondo School, a style-group of works attributed by
various experts to various artists under various names, in-
cluding Jose Aragon, the Dot-and-Dash Santero, the Arroyo
Hondo Painter, one of the Quill-Pen Followers a.k.a. the Ar-
royo Hondo Carver, the Taos County Santero a.k.a. the
Master of the Penitente Crucifixes, and Juan Miguel Her-
rera. PASNM, 374-75; CI, 115-22, 185-91; IPIM, 116-19,
122-24, 128, 130-32; NKS, 111, 242-47, 264-77; conversation
with Charles Carrillo, 19 January 1993, who noted the style-
traits that unify the Arroyo Hondo Carver's bultos with the
Quill-Pen Follower's retablos.
1820-1862 Jose Rafael Aragon of Cordova, painter of altarscreens at
Talpa, Llano Quemado, Vadito, Picurfs, Cordova, Chimayo,
Santa Cruz, and Chama, who uses firm outlines and col-
ors. School and imitators. "Santero," 14-15; Ahlborn, Am-
ericas 22 #9 (September 1970), 9; PASNM, 391-407; Wood
Carvers, 26-29; Donna Pierce, "Jose Rafael Aragon,"
American Folk Painters of Three Centuries (1980), 47-51; CI,
129-59; NKS, 198-241.
c. 1822 The A. J. Santero is named from initials appearing on one
of his retablos. Boyd notes his "thick, gritty gesso ground
and acid coloring." "Santera," 13, PASNM, 366; CI, 192; NKS,
1830s-1840s The Santo Nino Santero was aptly named from his large
number of charming Santo Ninos. "Santero," 15-16;
PASNM, 376-77; CI, 160-69; NKS, 178-97.
1830s-1840s The Quill-Pen Santero or Santeros, apparently influenced
by Molleno, was or were named for the apparent use of a
pen instead of a brush to make fine lines. Imitators.
"Santero," 16; PASNM, 388, 392; CI, 99-103; NKS, 170-77.
1830-60 Benito Bustos, likely either identical with or a follower of
the Quill-Pen Santero, possibly made an altarscreen and
one known retablo which might better be ascribed to Miguel
Herrera. CI, 193-94; NKS, 267 and 276.
c. 1835 Jose Manuel Benavides of Santa Cruz; PASNM, 384-85;
Cross and Sword, 21.
1840-50 The Carver of the Muscular-Torso Crosses. NKS, 265, 274.
1845-60 Leandro Martin, born in Spain, moved to New Mexico.
c. 1860-1872 Jose Miguel Aragon of Cordova, Rafael's son. Wood Carvers,
c. 1860 Nasario Guadalupe Lopez of Cordova (1821-91), father of
Jose Dolores Lopez, reputedly the creator of the death-cart
(Doha Sebastiana). Miller, Bulletin of the Museum of Modern
Art 10 #5-6 (May-June 1943), 5; "Santero," 22; Steele, "The
Death Cart," Colorado Magazine 55 (1978), 1-14; PASNM,
468-71; Wood Carvers, 29-30; IPIM, 150-54.
c. 1860? Eusebio Cordova of Cordova was identified as possibly the
sculptor of the San Isidro shown in plate 45 of Espinosa,
Saints, 38, 50, 79; E. Boyd, Saints and Saint Makers of New Mex-
As tin-and-glass work took hold in Santa Fe and spread out from
there in all directions, the surviving santeros were to be found in
more and more peripheral areas until the folk tradition died out
Rafael Silva of Mesilla, Doha Ana County. PASNM, 432.
Jose de Gracia Gonzales, born in Guaymas, Sonora, Mex-
ico, lived in Pehasco and Trinidad, was oil-painter of the
Trampas altarscreens and of many other altarscreens in the
Pehasco area, painter and sculptor of numerous individual
SANTOS AND SAINTS
pieces. Boyd, Supplement to "Santera," 5, #343; PASNM,
343-49; especially Wroth's fine detective work in IPIM,
101-15; NKS, 248.
1860s? Tomas Salazar of Taos, a name without works attached.
1860s? Jose Miguel Rodriguez and Patricio Atencio of the Taos and
Arroyo Hondo region. PASNM, 434.
1860s-1880s Juan Miguel de Herrera (1835-1905) of Arroyo Hondo,
maker of bultos with shell-shaped ears. Jaramillo, Shadows
of the Past (1941, 1981), 61; Jarmillo, Romance of a Little Village
Girl (1955), 187-88; "Santero," 16-17; PASNM, 408; IPIM,
118-19, 130-32; NKS, 264-66, 275-77.
1860s-1890s Juan Ramon Velasquez of Canjilon, maker of very large and
striking bultos, employed housepaint when available. Jose
Edmundo Espinosa, "The Discovery," El Palacio 61 (1954),
185-90; "Santero," 17-18; PASNM, 408-16; NKS, 266-67,
1870s-1890s Antonio Herrera of Capulin, Colorado, a San Luis Valley
santero. Wallrich, 154-58.
1875-1885 Quill-Pen Follower. IPIM, 65, 94-97; NKS, 170-77.
1875-1920 Higinio V. Gonzales of San Ildefonso, Las Vegas, Canjilon,
and the Santa Cruz area (1844-C.1922). He was a real
Renaissance man: schoolteacher, tinworker (Lane Coulter
and Maurice Dixon, New Mexico Tinwork , 128-31),
songwriter (John Donald Robb, Robb Archive, UNM; "H.V
Gonzales," New Mexico Folklore Record 13 [1973-74], 1-6);
Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest, 6, 322,
328, 400, 409; photo on page 530), and poet (Anselmo
Arellano, Los Pobladores Nuevo-Mexicanos y su Poesia, 57-74),
as well as a santero.
1880s? Sanchez, apprenticed to a santero in Ojo Caliente, quit to
become a farmer. He was the father of Joe Sanchez, an in-
formant of Wallrich, 158-59.
1880s-1907 Jose Benito Ortega of La Cueva near Mora, who endowed
some of his saints with dotted eyebrows and eyelashes and
with stylish Yankee-made pegged boots. School. "Santero,"
18-20; PASNM, 416-25; IPIM, 63-86; NKS, 280-95.
1880s-1920s Francisco Vigil (1855-1928) of Arroyo Seco, San Pedro, Fort
Garland, and El Valle near San Luis, Costilla County, Col-
orado. Wallrich, 160; IPIM, 137, 143; Fred Birner, personal
communication; census records.
c. 1890-1910 "Abiquiu Morada Santero" perhaps Monico Villalpando
or Monico Benavidez, whose works appear as plates 24-25
of Wilder-Breitenbach, Santos: The Religious Folk Art of New
Mexico (1943) and figures 42, 52, and 53 of Ahlborn, The
Penitente Moradas of Abiquiu (1968). School. PASNM, 436;
IPIM, 116-17, 126-27, 129; NKS, 265, 272-73.
1890s-1910s Jose Ines Herrera, active in the area of El Rito, the sculptor
of the Death Cart of the Denver Art Museum collection;
Shalkop, Wooden Saints (1967), 46; Robert Stroessner, San-
tos of the Southwest (n.d.), 52-53; IPIM, 157.
c. 1895 Retablo Styles I (staring eyes), II (Las Vegas area), III, and
IV (oil paintings on flour sacks). IPIM, 65, 85-93.
1898 Jose L. Morris of Buena Vista (La Cueva), a nephew of Jose
Benito Ortega. PASNM, 416, 428.
1900-1920 Dionisio Guerra of the El Paso area, Santa Fe, and Old Town
Albuquerque, molder and painter of plaster statues. Tom-
as Atencio, "Social Change and Community Conflict in Old
Albuquerque," UNM dissertation (1985), 203-04.
c. 1900 Southern Colorado Styles: San Luis Valley Style I (very
much like Velasquez) and II; Front Range Styles I (Aguilar
area) and II. IPIM, 137-38, 140-42, 144-48.
1930s Juan Ascedro Maes of the San Luis Valley, who quit when
he left the Catholic Church about 1941. Wallrich, 160.
The Taos and Santa Fe art and literary colonies introduced into Hispanic
New Mexico a reflective awareness of the santero tradition— history as
such, a deep past which is not the living tradition— and they created a
market for twentieth-century versions of the older santos. Hence the re-
mainder of this list is made up of romantic revival santeros (who are
distinct from real folk santeros as primitivists are from primitives).
Six tests for romanticism-revivialism can be named, any one of which
could be grounds for identifying the artist in question as a participant
in the romantic revival:
la. The traditional santero and the community he worked for felt that
the santo was sacred in itself because its efficient, exemplary, for-
mal, and final causes were holy. The efficient cause, the santero
himself, was necessarily a practicing Roman Catholic.
126 SANTOS AND SAINTS
lb. The romantic-revival santero tends to say that the santo becomes ho-
ly only when the priest blesses it. 1 This assertion rationalizes the
commodification of santos: selling them, selling them away from the
in-group, selling them to non-Hispanics, to non-Catholics, or even
to non-believers. The romantic-revival santero need not even be a
2a. Ownership of a santo was normally transferred only within the in-
group (village, ram, or at least Catholic religion) and only by gift, gift-
exchange, or barter.
2b. Participants in the cash-economy have entered the world of craft
specialization that signals the end or near-end of the land-based
farming and ranching economy. 2
3a. The true folk santero knows only the one tradition his father or
father-surrogates handed on to him. He must gather for himself most
of materials he uses.
3b. A revival santero knows of other artistic traditions besides his
ancestral one. He often knows his ancestral art precisely as historical
(for him and his in-group it is not present as a living tradition), and
if he chooses it, he does so much the same as he might choose any
alien tradition from the past or the present. Such a condition marks
his transcendence of the medieval cultural mode and his arrival at
the renaissance or romantic mode (knowing two or more cultures
well enough to distingush between or among them and to choose
one while rejecting another). A corollary of such historical
knowledge is that non-Hispanics will begin to make santos; they
have equal access to this historical knowledge of the tradition and
are equally free to choose it. 3 The revival santero has access to
manufactured materials such as gesso, paints, brushes, and sawmill
Style, Technique, and Subject-Matter Test
4a. The folk santero learned what he learned from others while he was
working with some older man.
4b. The revival santero comes under the influence of advisor-patrons,
usually Anglos, who help create the market for him. These persons
often recruit artists who have no living-family background of santero
work; they often supply models from the historical (non-living) past;
and they often interpret the market they have helped create so as
to foster certain subjects and techniques and curtail others (the birds-
APPENDIX A 127
and-bunnies St. Francis rather than the skull-and-stigmata St.
Francis, San Pascual the Kitchen Patron rather than Our Lady of
Sorrows; bultos rather than retablos, unpainted bultos rather than
5a. In a traditional folk society, almost no woman is ever publicly known
as a religious functionary. This stricture may have begun to dissolve
with the arrival of Loretto Sisters and Sisters of Charity in the 1850s.
5b. The revival creator of santos is likely to be a santera.
6a. The traditional santero remains anonymous because he feels that
his work expresses the tradition and derives wholly from it and only
minimally from his own individual talent.
6b. The revival artist signs his or her works, at least when asked to do so.
The romantic revival of santero art began in Santa Fe and spread from there (by
way ofLorin W. Brown's connections) to Cordova and (by way of the art colony)
1910s-1943 Celso Gallegos, devout sacristan of the Agua Fria chapel,
carved pine, leaving it without the previously-standard
santero finish of gesso and paint and introducing non-
1922-1931 Frank Applegate, author, collector, dealer, and the first
known Anglo santero.
1930-1938 Jose Dolores Lopez of Cordova, also working in unfinished
wood, specialized in such subjects as Adam and Eve, the
Flight into Egypt, and the Tree of Life. PASNM, 467-71; Wood
Carvers, passim, for all the Cordova artists.
1930s-1980s George (Jose Dolores' third son, died 1993) and Silvianita
Lopez (died 1992) of Cordova.
1930s-1935 Ricardo Lopez (fourth son).
1930s-1960s Maria Liria Lopez de Martinez of Cordova (daughter).
1930s-1940s E . Boyd (Elizabeth Boyd Hall), Santa Fe artist and scholar.
1930s-38, 1960s Nicudemos Lopez, eldest son of Jose Dolores.
1931-1964 Patrocinio Barela of Taos, a near-surrealist in comparison to
his predecessors on this list. NMMag 14 #11 (November 1936),
25, 33; Crews et al., Patrocinio Barela; Crews, Americas 21 #4
(April 1969), 35-37.
1930s Santiago Mata of Santa Fe, who worked in the W.P. A. Federal Art
128 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Project. E. Boyd, Supplement to "Santero," 6.
1930s Juan Sanchez of Mexico and Raton, active with the W.P. A.; Wood-
1930s Henry Brito, Robert Brito, Pedro Cervantes, Elidio Gonzales,
Henry Gonzales, Lorenzo Lopez, Elias Romero, Ben San-
doval, Fred Sandoval, all of Santa Fe.
1930s-1980s Eliseo Rodriguez of Santa Fe. LeViness, Liturgical Arts 27
#4 (August 1959), 82-83, 88-89.
1930s-1980s Elmore William // Elmer , ' Shupe, "on the highway" south of
Taos, a collector, dealer, and frequent santero. Cross and
Sword, 74, pi. 77
1930s-1960s "Carson Group" of Shupe workers, mainly women in the
Mormon town of Carson, Taos County, who made small col-
cha embroideries of saints for sale to Taos tourists: Frances
Varos Graves and others.
1935-1989 Efren Martinez of Santa Fe.
1940s Santiago Gallegos from near Hernandez
1940s-1950s Don Gallegos of Santa Fe, an academic Oberammergau-
1940s-1950s Cipriano Melisendro Rodriguez of Santa Fe.
(The decade in which the artist began work)
Luis Aragon of Shoemaker and Frank E. McCulloch, Jr., of
Will Barrett of Albuquerque Jose and Alice Mondragon of
Frank Brito of Santa Fe Cordova and Chimayo
Richard Chavez (E. Boyd, Nolie Mumey of Denver
"Catalogue/Mumey," 19 Apr Sabinita Lopez de Ortiz and
1968, #218) Cristobal "Junior" Ortiz of
Alfonso Cordova of Aguilar, Cordova
Colorado Marco Oviedo of Chimayo
Samuel (Sammy) Cordova of Paula Rodriguez of Santa Fe
Cordova Max Roybal of Albuquerque
Gilberto Espinosa of Albu- Pete V. Sena of Pecos and
Benita Reino de (Ricardo) Lopez Howard Shupe of Taos and
of Cordova Sedona, Arizona
Juan Climaco Lovato of Costilla Teodocio Valdez of Denver
and Denver Frederico Vigil of Santa Fe
Joe A. Lucero of Albuquerque Malcolm Withers of Denver and
(The decade in which the artist began work)
Tomas Burch, Tim Burch, and
Emily Burch Hughes of Raton
Ruth Campbell of Albuquerque
Gloria Lopez de Cordova and
Herminio Cordova of Cordova
Rafael Lopez Cordova of
John C. Dorman of Santa Fe
Victor Emert of Albuquerque
Candido Garcia of Albuquerque
Jose Marcos Garcia of Albu-
Jose Griego of Embudo
Adelina Ortiz Hill of Santa Fe
Andrew Johnson; PASNM, 363.
Jolaroque of Utah
Robert Lentz of Pecos and Albu-
Eurgencio and Orlinda Lopez of
Precidez Romero de Lopez and
Rafael Lopez of Cordova
Apolonio A. Martinez of
Eluid Levi Martinez of Cordova
and Santa Fe
Jo Martinez of Chimayo
Luz Martinez of Taos
Olivar Martinez of La Villita and
Ben Miller of Santa Fe
Abenicio Montoya of Santa Fe
Edmund Navrot of Santa Fe
Jackie Nelson of Santa Fe and
Earl Noell of Tesuque
Ben Ortega of Tesuque
Henry Quintana of Santa Fe
Lenor Rueda of Taos
Leo and Del Salazar of Taos
(nephews of Patrocinio Barela)
Jorge Sanchez of Albuquerque
J. Ben Sandoval of Santa Fe
Luis Sandoval of Santa Fe
Eleanor Sewell (Eleanora) of
Rosina Lopez de Short of Albu-
querque, Santa Fe, and Po-
Amarante O. Trujillo of Taos
R.R. Ulibarri of La Cienega
Horacio Valdez of Dixon
Bill Tate of Truchas and Santa Fe
(The decade in which the artist began work.)
Estevan Arellano of Embudo
Federico Armijo of Albuquerque
Luis Avila of Chimayo
Jose Alberto Baros of Las Vegas
B. Brabec of Albuquerque
Simeon Carmona of
Charles Carrillo of Albuquerque
and Santa Fe
Marie Romero Cash of Santa Fe
Evelyn, Gary, and Rafaelito Cor-
dova of Cordova
Lina Ortiz de Cordova and
Federico Cordova of Cordova
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Catherine Ferguson of Santa Fe
Carlos Fresquez of Denver
Clorinda Garcia of Santa Fe
David Gonzales of Santa Fe
Roberto Gonzales of
Monica Sosaya Halford of
Don Headlee of Denver
Juan (John Fred) Jimenez of
Tesuque and Santa Fe
Anita Romero Jones of Santa Fe
Cidelia Lopez of Cordova
Felix A. Lopez of Mesilla, Rio
Jose Benjamin Lopez of Espahola
Leroy Lopez of Santa Cruz
Manuel Lopez of Santa Cruz,
Hernandez, and Chili
Manuel R. Lopez of
Marcos Lopez of Taos
Ramon Jose Lopez of Santa Fe
Ricardo and Nora Lopez of
Victoria Lopez of Canjilon
Abad Lucero of Albuquerque
Luisito Lujan of Nambe
Olivar Martinez of Espahola
Ida Montoya of Pojoaque
Juan Navarrete of Taos
Bob O'Rourke of Fort Collins
Eulogio and Zoraida Ortega of
Alex, Lawrence, Elvis, Orlene,
and Amy Ortiz of Cordova
Guadalupita "Pita" Ortiz of
Helen R. Ortiz of Santa Fe
Linda Martinez de Pedro of
Rose Griego Polaco of Mora
Viviana Duran Prelo of Tularosa
Enrique Rendon of Monero and
Olivar Rivera of Nambe
Isaac, Eleanor, and Isaac, Jr.,
Romero of Santa Fe
Juan and Georgina Romero of
Manuel Romero of Llano
Orlando Romero of Nambe and
Rosario of Santa Fe
Claudio (Clyde) Salazar of
Ernesto, Michael, Leonardo, and
David Salazar (sons of Leo) of
Joseph Sanchez of Torreon
Alejandro ("Alex") Sandoval of
Juan Sandoval of Albuquerque
Carlos Santistevan of Denver
Thomas L. Sena of Glorieta
Juan Maria Suazo of Albu-
Luis Tapia of Santa Fe
Luis Trujillo from north of
Timothy A. Valdez of Santa Fe
Irene Martinez Yates of
Albuquerque and Grants
IX. 1980s or 1990s
(The period in which the artist began work)
A pattern that dimly emerged in the 1970s became strong and crystal-
clear in the 1980s: the revival of santero art began more to generate and
sustain itself from within, less to be generated from outside. Anglo
money continues to provide most of the fuel, of course, and so the
santeros prudently remain quite aware of their patrons' preferences. But
family mentoring spanning two, three, or even four generations, a large
number of master-apprentice relationships, widespread networking
among santeros and santeras, and a fair number of peer-groups like La
Escuelita of Espahola have drawn the initiative away from the Anglos
and into la raza. There is a widespread sense of a Nuevomejicano culture
alive in the present and ready for the future. The earliest signs of the shift
were the lessening number and percentages of new Anglo artists together
with the increasing number and percentage of new Hispanic santeras
and santeros, until in the last quarter-century there have been almost
no new Anglos— and those few appear mainly on the geographical edge
(like northern Colorado) or on the age-group periphery (seniors and
Filimon P. Aguilar of Bernalillo
Genevieve Aguilar of Taos
Frank "Pancho" Alarid of
Genevieve Alcon of Mora
Adan Alire of El Rito
Adam Archuleta of El Rito
Glenn J. Archuleta of El Rito
Louis Jerry Atencio of Dixon
Billy Babcock of Santa Fe
Donald Baca of Santa Fe
Luisa Baca of Albuquerque
Abel and Carlos Baros of Las
Darlene Baros of Las Vegas
Daniel Blea of Albuquerque
Bernardo C de Baca of Santa Fe
William Cabrera of Grants and
Rosa Maria Calles of Las Vegas
Estrellita de Atocha and Roan
Miguel Carrillo of Santa Fe
Anthony Romero Cash of
Frank Cervantes of
Eladio Chavez of Albuquerque
Joseph A. Chavez of
James M. Cordova of Santa Fe
Rafael Lopez Cordova of
Sam Cordova of Albuquerque
Rhonda Crespfn-Bertholf of
Jessica Delgado of Las Vegas
Macario Duran of Santa Fe
Esteban Edwards of El Paso,
Leroy Encinias of Albuquerque
SANTOS AND SAINTS
David P. Escudero of Las Vegas
Belarmino Esquibel of Santa Fe
Jose Raul Esquibel of Littleton,
Corine Mora Fernandez of
Troy Fernandez of Chimayo
Cruz Flores of Las Vegas
Benjamin A. Gabaldon of
Jose Gabaldon of Albuquerque
Chris and John Gallegos of Rio
Jason and Ann Gallegos
R.A. Gallegos of Santa Fe
Ruben M. Gallegos of Rio
Clorinda Garcia of Santa Fe
Lydia Vigil Garcia of Ranchos de
M.J. Garcia of Santa Fe
Richard Garcia of El Rito
Gustavo Victor Goler of Santa Fe
Willie Gomez of Albuquerque
Andy Gonzales of Santa Fe
David F. Gonzales of Santa Fe
Eric Gonzales of Taos
Jeff Gonzales of Santa Fe
Maria Fernandez Graves of
Ranchos de Taos
Manuel Gurule of Santa Fe
Richard and Raquel Halford of
Dion Hattrup of Santa Fe
Elaine Miera Herrera and Janel
Herrera of Rio Rancho and
Faustino Herrera of Santa Fe
Nicholas Herrera of El Rito
Carmelita Valdes de Houtman
of Santa Fe
Robert (Urban) Jaramillo of
Rubel U. Jaramillo of Antonito,
Jose V. Jaurequi of Silver City
Eugen Johe of Ojitos Frios
Frank, Patricia, and Mark
Johnson of Albuquerque
Juanito of Trinidad
Roberto Lavadie of Taos
Ellen Chavez de Leitner and
Maria, Johanna, Franz, Cecilia
and Genevieve Leitner of
Diego Lopez of Espanola
Glen and Cindy Lopez of
Joseph Lopez of Espanola
Leon, Lily, Bo, and Miller Lopez
of Santa Fe
Peter Lopez of Montezuma
Raymond Lopez of Santa Fe
Rene Lopez of Hernandez
David Nabor Lucero of Santa Fe
John Lucero of Albuquerque
Jose Floyd Lucero of Santa Fe
Juan M. Lucero of Las Cruces
Denna Trujillo Luciani of Taos
Ernie, Anthony, and Melissa Lu-
jan of Santa Fe
Jerome Lujan of Nambe and
Dolores Marie Maes of Peralta
Jose U. Maes of San Juan Pueblo
Leonard Manzanares of
Louie Mares of Santa Fe
Antonio Martinez of Ranchos de
Mary Jo and George Martinez of
Miguel S. Martinez of Hobbs
Solomon Martinez of Cordova
Fr. Tim Martinez of Mora
Tommy Martinez of Cordova
Trina and Pamela Martinez of
Santa Fe and Cordova
Irene Medina of Cordova
Christina, Celina, and Cynthia
Miera of Corrales
Rudy Miera of Bernalillo and
Clarence Mondragon of Taos
Jerry Mondragon of
Gilbert J. Montoya, Jr., of Santa
Fe (grandson of Frank Brito)
Joseph Montoya of Albuquerque
Richard H., Teresa, Melissa, and
Daniel Montoya of Santa Cruz
Ruben O. Montoya of Santa Fe
Matilda Mora of Santa Fe
Benito Murphy de Sosaya of
Tony Navarro of Bernalillo
Arturo Olivas of Los Angeles,
Geronimo Olivas of Alamosa,
John Olivas of Thornton,
Lorenzo Ortega of Santa Fe
Michael B. and Anthony Ortega
of Tesuque and Santa Fe
Adam Ortiz of Albuquerque
Charlene Ortiz of Santa Fe
Jeremy, Andrew, Camille, and
Lena Rae Ortiz of Cordova
Alcario "Carrie 7 ' Otero of Tome
Patricia, Gacobo, Oliver, Daisy,
J. J., and Tony Oviedo of
Adonio "Nono" Pacheco and
Adonio "Don-Chris" Pacheco,
Jr., of Taos
Frances Perea of Santa Fe
Rick Pfeufer y Armijo of
Nico Preciado of Santa Fe
Max Pruneda of Albuquerque
Gilbert, Pamela, and Regina
Quintana of Santa Fe
Rubel Rael of Vaughn
Lloyd Rivera of Ranchos de Taos
Alfred L. Rodriguez of San
Arturo Rodriguez of Thornton,
Jacobo "Jake" Rodriguez of
Jose Rodriguez of Espanola
Meggan Rodriguez of Taos and
Miguel Rodriguez of Santa Fe
Tomasita J. Rodriguez of
Adam M. Romero of Santa Clara
Dawn Romero of Santa Fe
Donna Wright de Romero of
Jody Romero of Truchas
Lee Romero of Truchas
Tim Roybal of Medenales
Tranquilino Roybal of Santa Fe
Ernesto A. Salazar of
Ricardo P. Salazar of El Prado
Eduardo Sanchez of Santa Fe
Joseph T. Sanchez of Tijeras
Angela and Cordilia Sandoval of
Cordova and Chimayo
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Henry Sandoval of Cordova and
Jerry P. Sandoval of Cordova
Randy Sandoval of Cordova
Vanessa and Teresita Sandoval of
Carlos Jr. and Brfgida
Santistevan of Denver
Arlene Cisneros Sena of
Benito Sena of Albuquerque
Florence Serna of Espahola
Jacobo de la Serna of Los
Bill Struck of Denver
Pete Tafoya of Ranchos de Taos
Frank Tollardo of Taos
John R. Tollardo of Albuquerque
Jimmy E., Debbie, Jaime, and
Cordilia Trujillo of
Julian Trujillo of Albuquerque
Michelle Trujillo of Taos
Zachary Trujillo of Albuquerque
Isidro and Una Urtiaga of Belen
Carmelita Laura Valdes of
Daniel, Amanda, and Marisa
Valenzuela of Santa Fe
Carmen Romero Velarde of
Ranchos de Taos
Trini David Velarde of Ranchos
Gabriel Vigil of Santa Fe
Michael M. Vigil of Questa
Paul and Sean Younis of Santa Fe
For help in assembling the more contemporary names, I would especially like
to thank Jose Aguayo of Museo de las Americas, Denver; Fred Birner of
Denver; Charles Carrillo, Santa Fe santero; Roberto Gonzales of de Col-
ores Gallery, Old Town Albuquerque, a santero; Rick Manzanares of
CHAC, Denver; Gabriel Melendez formerly of the Hispanic Culture
Foundation and now of UNM, Albuquerque; Felipe Mirabal of Las
Golondrinas in La Cienega; Ray Montez of Montez Gallery, Sena Plaza,
Santa Fe; Bud Redding of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society, Santa Fe;
Daniel Salazar of Denver; and Carlos Santistevan, Denver santero. If the
list has omitted anyone, it is my fault and I apologize.
APPENDIX A 135
1. George Lopez made this assertion to just about everyone who came in-
to his livingroom shop. Charles Briggs, "To Sell a Saint," Papers in Anthropology
17 (1976), 209-11; Briggs, Wood Carvers, xv, 192-98, quoting both J.D. Lopez and
George Lopez; Laurie Kalb, Santos, Statues, and Sculpture (1988), 13, quoting Enri-
que Rendon; Gayle Boss et al., Santo Making in New Mexico: Way of Sorrow, Way
of Light (1991), 32, quoting Luis Tapia.
2. The santero revival is one example of craft specialization on the occa-
sion of loss of land-base, later than but very similar to the turn to pottery-making
treated in Charles Carrillo, "Hispanic Pottery As Evidence of Craft Specializa-
tion in New Mexico, 1790-1890." Charles L. Briggs is the leading and only authority
in regard to making santos as craft specialization. See his "To Talk in Different
Tongues" in William Wroth, ed., Hispanic Crafts (1977), 42-47; Hispano Folklife in
New Mexico (1978), 13, 254nl7; Wood Carvers, 45-53; "Remembering the Past" in
Wroth, ed., Russell Lee's F.S.A. Photographs (1985), 5-7, 14n2; Land, Water, and
Culture (1987), 230-32; and Competence in Performance (1988), 36-39, 92, 378nn5-6.
In 1892-93, the people of Cordova lost legal control of the Cordova Grant;
in 1915, they lost the de facto use of their outlying lands; in 1917-18, Jose Dolores
Lopez began carving; in 1921-22, he began selling to Anglos.
3. Celso Gallegos was inspired by, and imitated in his own way, a late-
baroque bulto attributed to one of his great-great-grandfathers. Since he lived
in a plaza just south of Santa Fe, the artists of the city discovered and advised
him from early in his career. See Helen Cramp, NMMag 9 # 11 (November 1931),
20 and 46; Helen Cramp McCrossen, School Arts Magazine 30 (1931), 456-58;
"Santero," 22; Clifford Stevens, Santa Fe New Mexican "Viva," (13 January 1974),
6; PASNM, 431, 433, 435; Wood Carvers, 64.
4. Wood Carvers, 64. In 1922, Frank Applegate started interpreting the market
to Jose Dolores Lopez, and in 1930 he induced him to imitate Celso Gallegos'
unpainted wooden bultos.
5. At the beginning of the santero tradition, Bernardo Miera y Pacheco,
definitely born in Spain, signed a few of his pieces; Jose Aragon, who tradition
says was born in Spain, signed a fair number of his retablos; and Rafael Aragon
signed a few retablos and a few altarscreens. In later days, Marcus Jiron of Ojo
Caliente, about 1900, signed a tenebrario— candlestick for tinieblas.
A LIST OF SAINTS
All the saints represented by New Mexico santeros from the eighteenth
century until the end of the nineteenth are listed below. They are divided
into six categories: divine subjects, titles of Mary, angels, male saints,
female saints, and other.
Each listing gives pertinent biographical and devotional information
about the saint or holy person, his or her iconographic properties, any
information about patronage. The final line gives the ratio of occurrence
in a random sample of exactly one thousand santos which I enumerated
in 1974. This sample renders each particular santo precisely a tenth of
a percent of the whole. The grand totals are 1000 = 203, 567, 168, 62;
omitting the last figure— santos that cannot be assigned to a time period
—gives 21.6% of santos in the first period, 60.4% in the 1815-50 era, and
17.9% in the last period. The figures will be given as five numbers— for
instance 13 = 8, 5, 0, 0— meaning that there are 13 occurrences of the
subject in that thousand (hence 1.3% of all santos show this subject); of
these, 8 date from 1785 to 1815, 5 from 1815 to 1850, none from 1850 to
1900, and none are unable to be assigned chronologically. There are
many subjects that did not occur in that sample of a thousand but that
With help especially from Yvonne Lange and Charles Carrillo, I
have become aware since the first version of this book in 1974 both of
totally new subjects and of new subdivisions of subjects. New subjects
carry a decimalized number (e.g., 5.5) and have no occurrences-in-the-
thousand numbers. New subdivisions carry a letter (e.g., 13a) and share
in the number of the previously known subject.
1 a-d. La Santisima Trinidad (The Holy Trinity)
Biblical The Sunday after Pentecost
These three divine persons in numerically one nature constitute the
deepest mystery of the Christian faith. The Father is the first person, the
Word-become-man is Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy Spirit dwells in the
Church and in each Christian.
la. The Father as an old man sits at the viewer's right, the Son as
APPENDIX B 137
a young man sits at the Father's right hand, and the Holy Spirit as a
dove hovers between and above them. This is the mode of representa-
tion preferred by the Roman Catholic Church.
lb. The "Pieta" Trinity with the Father holding the dead Christ while
the Spirit as dove hovers overhead. The Church tolerates this depiction
but does not foster it.
1c. Three equal or even identical men. When shown as three iden-
tical men, the emblem of the sun marks the Father, the lamb the Son,
a dove or a tongue of fire the Spirit; they often hold a bar, chain, or light-
ning bolt. Until 1928, the Church did not foster but tolerated this depic-
tion because of the Orthodox analogues (cf . Andrey Rublev's masterpiece
of the 16th century) and because of the biblical source in Genesis 18; in
1928, the Church forbade it, no reason given.
Id. Three chests and heads growing from a single lower torso. Saint
Antoninus of Florence (d. 1449) described this depiction as "a monstros-
ity by the very nature of things," and on 11 August 1628 Pope Urban VIII
issued a condemnation which was repeated by Benedict XIV on 1 Oc-
tober 1745. See Chapter III, note 2; Donna Pierce, New Mexico Studies in
the Fine Arts 3 (1978), 29-33.
Enlightenment; favors of immediate need; thanksgiving; faith, har-
mony, and peace; protection against all enemies and temptations; deliv-
erance from locusts, earthquakes, and famine.
13 = 8, 5, 0, 0.
2. Nuestro Padre Dios (God the Father)
Biblical-celestial No special feast day
See the previous entry.
A single man, bearded, often with a pointed crown, often with a
triangular halo, holding his right hand in blessing, often with a book
or power symbol in his left hand— a lightning-bolt or an arrow. Occa-
sionally he holds a heart.
Enlightenment, aid, and fortitude; paternity.
3 = 0, 3, 0, 0.
3. El Espfritu Santo (The Holy Spirit)
Biblical-celestial Pentecost Sunday
See the entries on the Trinity above; the Church fosters only the
scriptural images of dove and tongue of fire as depictions of the third
Person of God.
Shown as a dove, especially within a lunette which is supposed to
be attached to a reredos; in association with Santos Felipe Neri, Jose
Patriarca, and others, the Spirit becomes an attribute.
138 SANTOS AND SAINTS
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
3.3. Los Desposorios de la Virgen (Betrothal of Mary and Joseph).
Biblical (Mt. 1:18) January 23 or November 26
The legend was that the high priest assembled various eligible men
to become the spouse of Mary and chose Joseph when his walking staff
burst into blossom.
Joseph at Mary's right holds his flowering walking staff, the sign
by which the high priest chose him from among the group of eligible
suitors; the Holy Spirit as a dove hovers above as they join hands.
Of the family.
3.5. La Aunuciacion (The Annunciation)
Biblical (Luke 1:26-38) March 25
The Archangel Gabriel approaches Mary with God's request that she
bear the Son of God by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
Mary, usually kneeling in prayer, the angel, often the Holy Spirit in
the form of a dove.
3.7. La Visitation (The Visitation)
Biblical (Luke 1:39-56) May 31
Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that Elizabeth is with child,
Mary goes to help her.
An 'A.J. Santero" panel, Frank, New Kingdom of the Saints (1992), pi.
137, shows Elizabeth and Mary embracing in the center and Zachary and
Joseph (with his flowering staff) on either side.
3.9 Nacimiento de Jesucristo (Birth of Jesus Christ)
Biblical (Matthew and Luke) December 25
The birth of Jesus at Bethlehem of Judea.
Mary and Joseph stand or kneel at either side of a manger in which
the infant lies. The "reliquary" in the Cordova chapel is probably a Naci-
miento; the moon presently attached to it belongs to a Guadalupe.
4. La Huida a Egipto (The Flight into Egypt)
Biblical (Mt. 2:13-23, modeled on Genesis 47) 17 February
An episode in Matthew's infancy narrative where a dream instructs
Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and escape into Egypt to keep Herod
from killing the child.
Joseph leads the donkey, Mary rides sideways on it and carries the
APPENDIX B 13Q
child, and an angel sometimes accompanies them. A Rafael Aragon
retablo adds at the bottom the massacre of the Holy Innocents as well
as a great deal of obscure allegorical commentary; see E. Boyd in Houg-
land, American Primitive Art (1946), 24-25, 36-37.
2 = 1, 1, 0, 0.
5. La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family)
Biblical First or Third Sunday after 6 January
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; Jesus is shown as a child.
The Child Jesus stands in the center, usually holding hands with
each of his parents. Sometimes in a retablo, the dove appears above the
group. Rafael Aragon did a crib-scene "reliquary" for the Cordova
Of the family.
13 = 1, 9, 3, 0.
5.5 La Santa Parentela (The Holy Extended Family)
Biblical implication No Feast Day as such
Mary, Joseph, and Mary's parents, traditionally named Ana and
Joachim; the cousins Elizabeth (Isabel) and Zechariah (Zachary) are not
included here. Following Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi,
medieval spirituality had a great concern for and curiosity about the
humanity of Christ. Golden Legend; Yvonne Lange, conversation of 11
January 1993; the main Santa Cruz altarscreen includes an eighteenth-
century oil painting of the Santa Parentela.
At the top of the panel, Mary and Joseph flank the Nino; at the bot-
tom, Ann and Joachim flank a cross; the five are connected by vines
originating with the grandparents.
1 = 1, 0, 0, (these figures formerly belonged to # 22).
6. El Santo Nino (The Christ Child)
Biblical No Feast Day
Christ as an infant or as a young boy.
6a. A young boy kneeling in a long robe, with hands together in
6b, 6c. The Christ Child of the Passion, the Christ Child of the Resur-
rection: a pair of bultos in the Cordova Chapel recently identified by
Donna Pierce; see Frank, New Kingdom of the Saints (1992), plates 219-20.
Protection for children, probably.
o = a a a o.
140 SANTOS AND SAINTS
7. El Santo Nino de Atocha (The Holy Child of Atocha)
Legendary No Feast Day
Yvonne Lange, "El Santo Nino de Atocha: A Mexican Cult Is Trans-
planted to Spain," El Palacio 84 # 4 (Winter 1978), 2-7, tells the historically
accurate story of this devotion, which arose in Zacatecas about 1800
when the Nino was removed from the arms of a statue of Nuestra Senora
de Atocha and placed in a chair. Frankfurter, El Palacio 94 # 1 (Summer-
Fall 1988), 30-39, makes a case for influence from the Nino Cautivo
legend. The legend told in Boyd, Saints and Saint-Makers of New Mexico
(1946), 126-27, and retold in earlier editions of Santos and Saints (1974,
1982) on 109 was developed to rationalize this new advocation of the
Holy Child. In Mexico, the devotion has also acquired the local name
"El Santo Nino Manuelito de San Pedro [de las Colonias] ." New Mexico
possesses at least five Santo Nino de Atocha alabanzas.
A child, always seated, in pilgrim's garb (broad-brimmed hat, staff
with gourd, shoes), with a basket which generally contains roses. The
staff is often decorated with ribbons; the ankles are occasionally shackled
together. For a standing figure, especially bearded, see Santiago (# 115
a or b).
For travelers, for delivery of prisoners; more recently, against ill-
nesses, especially those that cripple.
26 = 1, 14, 9, 2.
8. El Nino Perdido (The Lost Child)
Biblical (Lk. 2:41-50) No Feast Day
Christ remained behind in the Temple at age twelve when his parents
left, and they had to return to seek him; it is the fifth joyful mystery of
A child, usually standing, in short trousers and no shirt or in a long
robe, holding nothing.
For lost and kidnaped children; for travelers, especially pilgrims in
4 = 0, 4, 0, 0.
9. El Nino de Praga (The Infant Jesus of Prague)
A devotion associated with a 17th-century No Feast Day
statue in the Carmelite church of Our Lady
of Victory in Prague
A celebration of the childhood and kingship of Jesus.
A child dressed in a full robe, usually red, wearing a crown and
holding a globe with a cross on top and often a sceptre.
13 = 1, 10, 1, 1
APPENDIX B 141
10. Cristo el Divino Pastor (Christ the Good Shepherd)
Biblical (John 10:11) No Feast Day
Christ referred to himself as "the good shepherd" in relation to his
"flock/' since he was willing to die to save them.
Standing, wearing a hat, carrying a lamb on his shoulders, with
another by his feet, marked with the stigmata.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
11. La Entrada a Jerusalem (The Entry into Jerusalem)
Biblical (all gospels) Palm Sunday
The brief triumph of Christ shortly before his death, when he en-
tered Jerusalem surrounded by an admiring crowd.
Christ on a donkey, often with persons bearing palm branches.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
11.5 Cristo Atado a la Columna (Christ at the Column)
Biblical Good Friday
The second of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, when the
Roman soldiers scourged Christ.
Christ with his hands tied, wearing a royal crown (not of thorns),
stands before a column that often resembles a chalice and that catches
his blood. See Wroth, Christian Images (1982), 56; Frank, New Kingdom
of the Saints (1992), 257, 299; Taylor Museum 3892. A beardless Christ
might represent Christ's soul; see Christian Images, 149. Artists sometimes
mix the historical (the event of scourging) and the transhistorical (Man
of Sorrows; see 13a) by showing the nail- wounds and the spear- wound.
12. La Coronation de Espinas (The Crowning with Thorns)
Biblical (Mt. 27, Mk. 15, Jn. 19) Good Friday
This is part of the passion of Christ, when the Roman soldiers
mocked his claim to kingship; it is the second Sorrowful Mystery of
Christ sitting or standing, clad in a purple robe, with a crown of
thorns newly placed around his head. Can be a pose of a Jesus Nazareno
hinged bulto (# 13).
12a. Cristo Sedente durante de su Pasion (Christ Seated during his
Gertrud Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art (1972), 2:73-74, 85-86,
describes "Christ in Distress" and "Christ in Repose" images from the
U2 SANTOS AND SAINTS
European middle ages, the former more common in the north, the lat-
ter in the south. Both seem to find a distant echo in these rare images.
Christ sits, almost enthroned, marked with the wounds of the early
part of the passion from the scourging and the crown of thorns; he may
have a rope around his neck or his wrists, and he may hold the reed
"scepter" of the soldiers' mocking. If the rope or the crown of thorns is
lacking, it could be a santo of Job (# 90.5).
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
13. Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (or, de Nazareno)
(Our Father Jesus the Nazarene or Nazarite; or of Nazareth; the Ecce
Biblical (Mt. 27, Mk. 15; esp. John 19:5) Good Friday
The presentation of the scourged, thorn-crowned, purple-robed
Jesus to the crowd; also, the bulto which can be put through most of the
phases of the passion (see Chapter V).
Usually a bulto, nearly life-size, of Christ standing; it is hinged at
the shoulders (and sometimes neck and knees), not bearing the marks
of the nails or spear.
13a. El Varon de Dolores (The Man of Sorrows)
Non-Biblical Good Friday
Under this title, Jesus stands (sometimes in his tomb, often with a
rope around his neck) displaying all the marks of his passion, including
the wounds of the nails and the spear (the last received after his death—
John 19:33-34). But neither is he dead (his eyes are open and fixed on
the viewer), nor is he risen (he shows by his expression that he is in
pain); instead, the figure presents a timeless, non-historical allegory of
all the suffering Jesus endured in his passion and death. As Schiller
(Iconography of Christian Art 2:198) puts it, "The image of the Man of Sor-
rows is unambiguously a devotional image; it does not depict any event."
It nicely exemplifies the late medieval spirituality of Western Europe as
it flowed from Bernard of Clairvaux and Francis of Assisi.
Forgiveness of mortal sins, against evil and enemies; penitence, the
daily cross; faith, hope, and charity; for a good death (in the state of
21 - 1, 12, 8, 0.
14. Jesus es Cargado con la Cruz (Jesus Carries his Cross)
Biblical (John 19:17) Good Friday
Roman custom made condemned prisoners carry their own crosses.
APPENDIX B 143
Matthew and Mark neglect the issue, Luke is a bit vague, only John ex-
plicitly states that Jesus did so. It is commemorated by the second to
ninth stations of the Way of the Cross and the fourth Sorrowful Mystery.
Imitation of this event of the passion is of course a key practice of the
penitential Brothers of Our Father Jesus the Nazarene, for several Broth-
ers often carried crosses in the procession to the Calvario.
The examples in the sample are all retablos, though this subject could
be a phase of the Jesus Nazareno bultos. The retablos show Christ in a
long robe bearing the cross; he often has a rope around his neck.
For repentance and bearing suffering; this last would especially be
suggested by Mt. 10:38 and 16:24, Mk. 8:34, and Lk. 9:23 and 14:27.
5 = 1, 2, 2, 0.
15. El Divino Rostro (Veronica's Veil)
Legendary (the sixth station of the Cross) Good Friday
According to a pious legend, a woman wiped the face of Christ as
he carried the cross, and he left an imprint of his face indelibly on the
cloth. A Latin-Greek phrase, vera icon, was metathesized into 'Veronica,"
which soon came to he understood as the name of the kind helper. See
Ewa Kuryluk, Veronica and Her Cloth (1991).
The veil is occasionally shown by itself, but usually Santa Veronica
is shown holding it. I counted both types as one unit.
15a. El Velo de Tres Rostros (The Triple Rostro)
Legendary (The Sixth Station of the Cross) Good Friday
This is a Taos-region variant of Veronica's Veil, derived from the local
custom that Santa Veronica in the passion play touches her veil three
times to Christ's face. See Steele, Denver Post "Empire" (8 April 1979),
23-25. Variants of the alabado "Venir Pecadores" describe Santa Veronica
touching her veil to Christ's face "y en tres partes pinta / Cristo su
hermosura— and Christ paints his beauty in three places."
Imprint of Jesus on our hearts, miracles, converts, sexual purity.
Also, through association of Santa Veronica with the woman in Mt.
9:20-22 and Mk. 5:25-34, for healing hemorrhages.
8 = 4, 3, 1, 0.
16. Cristo Crucificado, Crucifijo (Crucifix)
Biblical (all gospels) Good Friday
The death of Christ, dealt with most especially in Chapter V above.
Christ nailed to the cross, clad in a loincloth, with a crown of thorns
about his head. A great decorative pouf often stands out from the loin-
cloth to the viewer's left. A skull at the base of the cross is Adam's; see
Schiller (Iconography of Christian Art 2:130-33); see also E. Boyd, El Palacio
144 SANTOS AND SAINTS
58 (1951), 225, 234-36. The crosses for several Rafael Aragon crucifixes
are composed of three swords, one serving as the upright and two
smaller ones making the crossbar.
16a. Nuestro Senor de Esquipulas (Our Lord of Esquipulas)
The cross to which the Lord of Esquipulas is nailed is a Tree of Life
—tinged with green, sprouting three branches from the upright and four
from the crossbar; see Schiller (Iconography of Christian Art 2:133-34).
—The black Christ of Esquipulas in Guatemala (see Stephen de Borhegyi,
El Santuario de Chimayb [Santa Fe: Spanish Colonial Arts Society, 1956],
2-4) is like any black Christ the male correlative of the earth mother
(Cybele, Demeter, Black Virgin) as goddess-personification of the rich
black fields; this part of the iconography got lost on the way to New
16b. Nuestro Senor de Mapimi (Our Lord of Mapimi)
There is no iconographic difference between this and the regular
crucifix, but the Brothers of Our Father Jesus identify certain crucifixes
as Mapimi . There are three alabados to the Lord of Mapimi in Rael, The
New Mexican Alabado (1951), 71-77, and an account of the history of the
The iconography should logically— but does not— include an arrow
wound in one leg just below the knee.
16c. Nuestro Senor de Zacatecas (Our Lord of Zacatecas)
Just above the crown of thorns, the crucified Christ seems to wear
a halo with three sets of rays; his loincloth is large and very decorative.
The background is a pattern of rectangles.
Salvation of the world, pardon from sins, bearing of sufferings;
faith, piety, peaceful death; all needs.
81 = 21, 26, 26, 8.
17. La Santa Cruz (The Holy Cross)
Biblical Good Friday; 3 May
The cross shown without the body of Christ. It is often decorated
with designs (sometimes made of straw). The designs often show the
Anna Christ i, the "weapons of Christ" which taken together as a set make
up his coat of arms; by these weapons Christ won his victory over sin
and death— not by using them but by allowing them to be used against
him. As few as four or five items may be shown— cross, INRI, nails, ham-
mer, crown of thorns, spear— or as many as several dozen.
17a. La Cruz Cubrida or Vestida (The Draped Cross)
Sometimes the cross is shown with the cloth used in lowering the
APPENDIX B 145
body draped over both arms.
Presumably the cross would have the same patronage as the crucifix.
15 = 1, 5, 9, 0.
18. El Santo Entierro (Christ in the Tomb)
Biblical (all gospels) Holy Saturday
The dead body of Christ in a latticework casket.
2 = 0, 1, 1, 0.
19. El Sagrado Corazon (The Sacred Heart)
Biblical— Mt. 11:29 ("Learn of me Friday after the third
for I am meek and humble of heart") Sunday after Pentecost
and John 19:34 ("One of the soldiers stuck a spear into his side, and im-
mediately blood and water came forth").
The medieval devotion to the five wounds spun off a devotion to the
spear-wounded heart of Christ as the object or medium of mystical
union. The better-known later devotion, promoted particularly by the
Jesuits after it originated in seventeenth-century France, emphasized
The heart is often shown by itself, often encircled by a wreath of
thorns, usually with a cross above it. It is occasionally shown at the center
of the chest of Christ, who may have a triangular halo.
Forgiveness of sins; all petitions; protection of family and home;
health; against avarice, jealousy, and hatred.
9 = 0, 5, 1, 3.
20. El Gran Poder de Dios (The Great Power of God)
Allegorical No Feast Day
A representation of the divine power operating in the world.
This is a unique piece in the Museum of New Mexico's Charles D.
Carroll Collection (N.M./4 CDC) showing Christ enthroned among
angels, with the Blessed Virgin above him, and a priest, flanked by a
deacon and subdeacon, elevating the host. It appears as an illustration
in Boyd, Popular Arts of Colonial New Mexico (1959), 49.
1 = 0, 0, 1, 0.
21. Alegoria de la Redencion (Allegory of the Redemption)
Since about 1985 this allegorical title has seemed a false identifica-
tion of subject # 5.5, the tableau of La Santa Parentela— the Holy Ex-
tended Family including Joachim and Anna.
[1 = 1, 0, 0, 0— these figures from the sample of a thousand santos
are transferred to subject # 5.5]
146 SANTOS AND SAINTS
22. La Resurreccion (The Resurrection)
Biblical (all gospels) Easter Sunday
The rising of Christ to a new life after his death and burial.
An elaborate Rafael Aragon retablo in a private collection shows a
very small figure (Christ dead?) poised at the edge of a very Byzantine-
looking rock tomb, a large rising Christ in the center of the panel, and
a middle-size figure seated at one side (Christ enthroned?). There are
also three angels and a Roman soldier for a total of seven figures. A
simpler Rafael Aragon panel shows only the main figure (Museum of
New Mexico, International Folk Art).
Promise of reward for fidelity to God's will; perhaps for acceptance
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
ADVOCATIONS (TITLES) of the BLESSED VIRGIN
22.5 Nuestra Sehora de los Afligidos (Our Lady of the Troubled)
A title of Mary perhaps 19 August
A unique New Mexican representation of a devotion that appears
in Mexico and Brazil.
Mary sits on a heavenly throne surrounded by angels, two of whom
wear Franciscan robes and flank a globe of the universe which supports
a black lunar crescent in which a child (Christ?) sits. Mary is crowned,
the dove hovers before her breast, and she raises her hand in blessing;
Out West 21 # 3 (September 1904), 220-26; Christine Mather, From Bar-
oque to Folk (1980), 54-55.
For the afflicted.
23. Nuestra Sehora de los Angeles (Our Lady of the Angels);
also Porciuncula or Persfngula
A title of Mary August 2
As mother of Christ and perfect disciple, Mary ranks higher than
Mary is dressed in a blue mantle, holding the Nino or a sword and
cross or a dove; she stands on a serpent and is surrounded by angels.
Director of the angels who are guardians of humans; control of
3 = 0, 3, 0, 0.
24. Nuestra Sehora de la Anunciacion (Our Lady of the Annunciation)
A title of Mary March 25
This is Mary at the moment when the Angel Gabriel approached her
and asked her to become the mother of Jesus. There is only a slight dif-
APPENDIX B 147
ference between this title and Immaculate Conception. Note # 41a, La
Alma de la Virgen.
Mary is shown standing; a budding tree and a monstrance are in the
background (these can be attributes of the Immaculate Conception).
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
25. Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion (Our Lady of the Assumption)
A title of Mary August 15
A teaching of the Roman Catholic Church holds that Mary was taken
body and soul into heaven, and is like Christ already in the resurrected
state. La Conquistadora (Our Lady of Peace) of the Santa Fe Cathedral
was originally an Assumption.
A painting of Mary with no special attributes was thus identified for
me by the mayordomo of a small chapel.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
26. Nuestra Senora de Atocha (Our Lady of Atocha)
A title of Mary No Feast Day
This is the source of the Santo Nino de Atocha (#7) as Yvonne Lange
pointed out in her El Palacio article; there is a church in a neighborhood
of Madrid, Spain, where this title of Mary began. The story is told that
as the statue of Our Lady of Atocha neared Zacatecas, some robbers at-
tacked the caravan and tried to open the packing case containing the
image, but such a great noise issued from it that they ran away.
Mary holds the Nino (who later escaped from her grasp); she wears
a brocaded hoop skirt and a crown. She is sometimes shown seated.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
27. Nuestra Senora de Begona (Our Lady of Begona)
A title of Mary October 8 or second Sunday of October
Our Lady of Begona is patroness of the Basque city of Bilbao. A
vested eighth-century statue found in an oak tree is venerated in a Gothic
chapel on a hilltop.
Crowned, seated in an armless chair, holding the crowned Child and
a rose, surrounded by oak branches.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
28. Nuestra Senora del Camino (Our Lady of the Way)
A title of Mary No Feast Day
148 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Probably the Spanish version of the Senora del Camino venerated
Mary stands in a rich red gown holding the crowned Nino and a
palm branch or a palmer's staff— the symbol of a pilgrim— while two
angels place a crown on her head. See Wilder and Breitenbach, Santos
(1943), 47 and pi. 55; Sanchez Perez, El Quito Mariano en Espaha (1943),
103-04; Wroth, Christian Images (1982), 109.
Protection of pilgrims and travelers.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
29. Nuestra Senora de las Candelarias (Our Lady of the Candlesticks)
A title of Mary February 2
This is a confused title in New Mexico. The real Candelarias, a
Canary Island apparition, became confused with Nuestra Senora de San
Juan de Los Lagos so that the name of the former became widely applied
to images of the latter (# 45 below).
The real Candelarias sits and holds the Nino and a small bouquet;
there is either no candle or a single extremely large candle. By contrast,
N.S. de San Juan de los Lagos is flanked by a pair of candles in candle-
sticks. See Lange, Santos de Palo (1991), 7.
1 = 0, 0, 1, 0.
30. Nuestra Senora del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
A title of Mary July 18
The orders of Carmelites, both monks and nuns, spread devotion
to the brown scapular; Carmelite Father Lynch writes of "Our Lady's
triple promise to assist us in life and death and to bring us as soon as
possible to the gate of Heaven" (Your Brown Scapular , 40).
Mary, dressed in a brown scapular without a shield at the breast and
a yellow gown, holds a brown scapular with a cross on it and the Nino;
he is usually dressed in red and often holds a scapular. Mary often wears
a crown, Christ sometimes does. There are often souls in purgatory at
Against all dangers, especially hell; in the hour of death (in New
Mexico a brick of adobe was often brought to a dying member of the
Carmelite Third Order and placed on his or her chest to ease [!] the final
agony); for the souls in purgatory.
24 = 6, 11, 5, 2.
30.5 Nuestra Senora de la Cueva Santa (Our Lady of the Holy Cave)
A title of Mary First Sunday of September
APPENDIX B 14Q
This advocation allegorizes Song of Solomon (Canticle of Canticles)
2:14, "My dove in the clefts of the rock," a text sometimes written in Latin
on the retablo. The devotion originated with the Carthusians of Valle de
Cristo near Segorbe, Spain.
Since that erotic book was usually interpreted presenting the rela-
tionship between God and his chosen people (Jews, Church), Mary as
type of the church sits in a church-bell-shaped cave; the bell image is
often enhanced by being topped with a crown that looks like the bell-
Perhaps Mary as type of the Church as our protectress.
31. Nuestra Senora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows)
A title of Mary Friday before Palm Sunday and September 16
This is Mary enduring the sorrows predicted in Luke 2:35, especial-
ly that of the crucifixion of Jesus. The advocation arose about 1390,
perhaps when the mourning figure of Mary was separated from a
"Calvario" (crucifix with Mary and John) and made a distinct object of
veneration; see Wroth, Images of Penance, Images of Mercy (1991), 75.
Mary standing with her hands folded, a sword or seven swords
piercing her heart, wearing a red gown and a cowl; very infrequently
she is crowned.
Strength in suffering; compassion for others in sorrow; help with
children, help in childbirth; for sinners. There is a definite penitential
interest, as Chapter V stated, since it is usually the Dolores bulto that
engages in the Encuentro enactment as the Jesus Nazareno bulto moves
in procession toward Calvary.
53 = 10, 34, 7, 2.
32. El Corazon de Nuestra Senora de los Dolores
(The Heart of the Sorrowful Mother)
A version of the above title of Mary Friday before Palm Sunday
and September 16
This is merely a disembodying of the heart of Dolores on the model
of presentations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart
of Mary that show only a heart.
A disembodied heart with a sword or seven swords piercing it.
For the same needs as Nuestra Senora de los Dolores.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
33. Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Our Lady of Guadalupe)
A title of Mary December 12
The account of this apparition is examined at length in Chapter IV.
Mary, sometimes with identifiably Indian features, standing in a
ISO SANTOS AND SAINTS
body halo, supported upon a dark upturned crescent and a winged
angel. She often wears a crown (an early addition to the original removed
in the 1880s).
For general favors in sickness; against all evil, particularly war;
patroness of the Mexican and Indian peoples.
50 = 16, 24, 2, 8.
33.5. Nuestra Senora de Loreto (Our Lady of Loretto)
A title of Mary March 1
Legend declares that the Holy Family's house at Nazareth flew to
several places in Italy before coming to a final landing at Loretto, on the
Adriatic coast of the old Papal States.
Our Lady of Loretto is crowned with a papal crown, wears a bro-
caded gown which completely hides her arms; the crowned Nino who
holds a globe is tucked into her bodice. There is often a cross on her
dress. See Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys (1960, 1967), pi. 4.
34. Nuestra Senora de la Luz (Our Lady of Light)
A title of Mary May 21
This presentation of Mary as a savior from enclosure in a monster
who symbolises Hell (or perhaps Purgatory) dates well back into the mid-
dle ages, but it became a Jesuit devotion later, especially in Sicily.
Mary holding the Nino, drawing a "soul" out of the mouth of a
monster; she is crowned or an angel holds a crown over her head, and
sometimes an angel offers her a basket of roses.
Rescue from Hell or Purgatory; illumination of the mind by her
wisdom; return of those who have left the church or of a husband who
has abandoned his wife.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
35. Nuestra Senora de la Manga (Our Lady of the Sleeve)
A title of Mary No Feast Day
This is a variation of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores with a sleeve-
like fold of her cloak; it may be connected with the Italian Madonna de
Rare retablo, exactly like the Dolores, except titled at the bottom
"Nuestra Senora de la Manga, advocate of births, and of plagues and
of those who suffer," in the Charles D. Carroll Collection of the Museum
of New Mexico (SR/300 CDC). It is by Pedro Fresquis.
Helper at births; protection from plague; advocate of those who
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
APPENDIX B 151
35.5. Nuestra Senora de la Merced (Our Lady of Mercy)
A title of Mary 24 September
The crowned Virgin holds a rose or a scepter in her right hand and
the crowned Nino on her left arm, and both of them hold small scapu-
lars. She wears the full white scapular of the Mercedarian Order with
its characteristic shield at her breast.
For captives; for anyone in need of divine mercy.
36. Nuestra Senora como una Muchacha (Our Lady as a Girl)
A title of Mary No Feast Day
This might be meant to depict Mary at her presentation in the Tem-
ple as a girl of twelve or so; if so, the feast day would be November 21.
A young girl holding a lily.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
37. Nuestra Senora como una Pastora (Our Lady as a Shepherdess)
A title of Mary No Feast Day
The Capuchin Franciscans fostered this devotion, a Marian echo of
Christ as the Good Shepherd (#10).
Mary in a shepherdess's hat, surrounded with sheep in a pastoral
Probably patron of shepherds, possibly also for care of souls.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
38. Nuestra Senora del Patrocinio (Our Lady of Protection)
A title of Mary Third Sunday of November or the day before or November 11
The devotion dates to the middle ages. Mary holds the Nino; both
hold scepters and are crowned. Mary's robe is red; she stands on an
Protection, presumably mainly from the usual preternatural dangers.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
39. Nuestra Senora de la Piedad (The Pieta; Our Lady of the Deposition)
A title of Mary Good Friday
The bereaved mother holds the dead body of Christ in her lap. The
cross and the implements of the passion are in the background.
Presumably, the associations of the crucifixion itself: salvation, par-
don of sins, bearing suffering, and so forth.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
40. Nuestra Senora del Pueblito de Queretaro (Our Lady of the Suburb
A title of Mary 1 May
152 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Queretaro is a city about a hundred miles northwest of Mexico City,
in the state of the same name; Pueblito is a small suburb. A Franciscan
artist's statue of Mary as queen and patroness of the Franciscan Province
of San Pedro y San Pablo became a local devotion.
Crowned and wearing a rich robe, Mary floats above Saint Francis
of Assisi, who is holding three globes upon his shoulders. There are
angels at the sides. The globes probably symbolize the three Franciscan
orders, but they might symbolize the realms of heaven, earth, and hell,
or perhaps heaven, church, and state, or perhaps the church on earth,
in purgatory, and in heaven; see Boyd, El Palacio 56 (1949), 353-57.
The Virgin's help might be sought for any favor in any of the possi-
3 = 0, 3, 0, 0.
41. Nuestra Sehora de la Purfsima Conception (Our Lady of the
A title of Mary December 8
The word "Inmaculada" or "Limpia" is sometimes substituted for
"Purfsima." This is a devotion to the doctrine of the Roman Catholic
Church that Mary from her conception was free from original sin. It is
not identical with the asexual conception of Christ and indeed has
nothing to do with it directly, nor is it a profession of the asexual con-
ception of Mary herself, which is not held by any Christian sect I am
aware of. The Franciscan theologian Duns Scotus developed a plausi-
ble defense of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in the four-
teenth century; Sister Maria de Jesus de Agreda, the "Lady in Blue," was
a Franciscan "Conceptionist" nun; the Franciscans who staffed New
Mexico in the seventeenth century took the color in honor of her biloca-
tions to preach to the Indians of the region (see Fray Alonso de Benavides '
Revised Memorial of 1634 (1945). The doctrine was solemnly proclaimed
by Pius IX in 1854.
Mary stands on an angel-supported moon or on a serpent, often
wears a crown, holds her hands folded, and holds in them sometimes
a flower; she may be surrounded by emblems like monstrance, rose, lily,
palm, ladder, star, and so forth.
41a. La Alma de la Virgen (The Virgin's Soul)
An allegorical variant of the Immaculate Conception
A young woman, looking very demure, with a dove (the Holy Spirit)
at her breast; she wears either a hat or a crown of roses, and she may
also hold a lily or a scepter.
For all favors, especially purity and repentance of sin; against all evil.
APPENDIX B 153
Shalkop, Wooden Saints (1967), 40, notes that a bulto usually identified
as the Purisima Conception but probably technically La Alma was
known in Abiquiu as Our Lady of Innocence.
21 = 4, 11, 4, 2.
41.5. Nuestra Senora de la Redonda (Our Lady of the Rotunda)
A title of Our Lady Saturday before the first Sunday of August
Mary, a variant of the Assumption, standing in the classical vault of
a Mexico City sanctuary modeled on the Pantheon in Rome.
Mary stands crowned and with long hair in a draped opening, her
hands folded in prayer and a palm held behind her right forearm; there
are three trios of angels at the bottom of her skirt. See Artes de Mexico
113 (1968), 25, 35-36, and 100; Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish New Mexico
(1974), figs. 95, 116.
42. Nuestra Senora Refugio de Pecadores (Our Lady Refuge of Sinners)
A title of Mary July 4
An Italian Jesuit devotion introduced into Mexico, especially into
Zacatecas, during the eighteenth century. See Boyd, El Palacio 57 (1950),
Mary is crowned, holds a sceptre or a palm and the Nino, who may
hold Mary's thumb. There are often roses and angels in the background,
and frequently the letters or a monogram "MA." Mary is generally shown
half-length, often with clouds at the bottom front.
For protection from sin, repentance of sin, both for self and others.
10 = 0, 9, 1, 0.
43. Nuestra Senora Reina de los Cielos (Our Lady Queen of Heaven)
A title of Mary Second Sunday of May
This subject is probably connected with Revelations 12:1 and with
the fifth glorious mystery of the rosary, the coronation of Mary as queen
Mary holds a Nino and a sceptre, and she wears a crown; she stands
on a crescent moon.
Probably protection from preternatural dangers.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
+ Remedies— see Socorro, # 47.
44. Nuestra Senora del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary)
A title of Mary October 7
Because of the association of the rosary with the sea victory over the
Muslim fleet at Lepanto on 7 October 1571, there is probably by analogy
154 SANTOS AND SAINTS
a New Mexican application to conflicts with non-Christian Indian foes.
The Spanish-made La Conquistadora of the Santa Fe Cathedral, a six-
teenth or early-seventeenth-century Asuncion, was made first into a
Purisima Conception and then into a Rosario. It was very much con-
nected with the military reconquest of the colony under De Vargas in
1692-93. Her official name was changed to Our Lady of Peace in 1992.
Cortez gave the original Mexican Conquistadora now in Puebla to a
Tlascaltecan cacique ally; Holweck, Calendarium Liturgicum Festorum Dei
et Dei Matris Mariae (1925), 306; Castro, Artes de Mexico 113 (1968), 40-42.
The Virgin holds the Nino and a rosary; she is crowned though the
Child is usually not; she stands on a crescent moon. Sometimes she is
shown giving the rosary to Santo Domingo Guzman, whose Order of
Preachers especially spread the practice of reciting the rosary.
Acceptance of death in the family (saying the rosary is a central part
of velorios [wakes] for the dead; see Lorin Brown, Hispano Folklife of New
Mexico (1978), 134-35, where the crucifix of the rosary is the key to the
gates of heaven); for peace, for help in danger and protection from ac-
9 = 1, 7, 1, 0.
45. Nuestra Sehora de San Juan de los Lagos (Our Lady of San Juan de
A title of Mary February 2
The city of San Juan de los Lagos is about two hundred miles north-
west of Mexico City. This title originated in the veneration of a statue of
the Immaculate Conception. The settlers of Talpa south of Taos fostered
the devotion during the first half of the nineteenth century. As has been
noted in connection with Nuestra Sehora de las Candelarias, there is
great confusion between the two titles; symptomatic is Frances Toor's
statement that the Sehora of San Juan was a Virgin of the Purification
(de la Candelaria; see A Treasury of Mexican Folkways , 184); and the
fiesta of the Virgin of San Juan falls indeed on Candlemas, the feast of
the Purification. See Jay F. Turner, "The Cultural Semiotics of Religious
Icons: La Virgen de San Juan de los Lagos/' Semiotica 47 (1983), 317-61,
The Lady of the Immaculate Conception standing between two
lighted candles; her cape widens to show a broader expanse of her skirt
from her knees down.
22 = 6, 13, 3, 0.
APPENDIX B 155
46. Nuestra Senora con el Santo Nino (Madonna and Child)
A title of Mary December 25 (?)
This advocation is perhaps only a misidentification of pictures or
statues of Mary meant to be other titles but vague and incomplete in their
iconography. Mary may bear the title Belen or Leche.
The Virgin holding the Child, with no other significant traits.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
47. Nuestra Senora del Socorro, or de los Remedios (Our Lady of Help)
A title of Mary September 1
This is not the same as the more famous Lady of Perpetual Help, a
Greek devotion not introduced into western Europe till the eighteenth
century. Our Lady of Remedios was Cortes' and de Vargas' Conquista-
dora, and she was patroness of the gachupines and the Mexicans loyal
to Spain during the Hidalgo rebellion of 1810.
Mary wears a crown and holds the Nino, who may or may not be
crowned. Occasionally she holds a triple staff of office, and he may hold
a globe like the Santo Nino de Praga's.
Freedom from sickness of soul or body.
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
48. Nuestra Senora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude)
A title of Mary Good Friday, Holy Saturday
Between her son's crucifixion and resurrection and between his
ascension and her own death, Mary lived (according to Christian folk-
lore) like a nun. With neither father, brother, husband, nor son, Mary
is the archetype of the crone, a very powerful figure.
Mary is dressed in a very nun-like black and white or occasionally
black and red; she rarely holds anything in her hands, but bultos of La
Soledad are often designed with arms that can hold a towel on which
the implements of the passion (Arma Christi) are placed, one after an-
other, as they become available during an enactment of the deposition
of the Santo Entierro (thirteenth station of the Way of the Cross). She
often has a rosary hanging from her neck; retablos usually show im-
plements of the passion in the background. See Wroth, Images of Penance,
Images of Mercy (1991), 21-28, 60. (The Arma Christi, the Weapons of
Christ by which He accomplished our salvation, are the implements of
the passion— not weapons Christ used against others but weapons he
allowed to be used against Himself.)
Patroness against loneliness; consolation in bereavement; happy
death; reminder of Christ's wounds; protection in general. —In certain
156 SANTOS AND SAINTS
parts of Mexico, La Soledad is feared as Our Lady of Death, and a wo-
man will not stay alone in the same room with an image of her. There
is probably a Soledad-Sebastiana connection (see subject # 143 below),
just as there is surely a strong connection among Dolores (# 31), Manga
(# 35), Piedad (# 39), Soledad, Veronica (# 139), and perhaps Rita da
Casia (# 134).
14 - 0, 7, 6, 1.
49. Nuestra Senora de Talpa (Our Lady of Talpa)
A title of Mary (October 7)
Some sources state that this is Our Lady of Talpa as venerated in the
village of Talpa near Ranchos de Taos, for the iconography differs from
that of Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa as venerated elsewhere in the
Spanish world; see Wroth, Christian Images (1982), 143, 205; Wroth, The
Chapel of Our Lady of Talpa (1979), 21-29; Wroth, Images of Penance, Images
of Mercy (1991), 102.
Mary holds an arrow; there is a cross-topped tower in the back-
ground. Compare Santa Barbara.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
50. Nuestra Senora de Valvanera (Our Lady of Valvanera)
A title of Mary September 8 or 10 or 23, November 21
According to legend, during the tenth century an image of Mary
carved by Saint Luke was found in the Basque country near Burgos next
to a hive of wild bees in an oak. See Bernard Fontana in Weigle et al.,
eds., Hispanic Arts and Ethnohistory in the Southwest (1983), 80-92.
Mary, in a red gown and blue cape and wearing a crown, holds the
Nino who holds a pear; the Nino is not crowned. European arts shows
an eagle in the background.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
51. Nuestra Senora de la Victoria (Our Lady of Victory)
A title of Mary October 7
This is Our Lady of the Rosary as particularly associated with the
victory over the Islamic fleet at Lepanto, 7 October 1571; there are other
battles with which Our Lady of Victory has become connected.
Mary is crowned, winged (like the Greco-Roman "Winged Victory");
she stands on a plant or oversized flower and holds the Nino.
Success in battle; here again, the New Mexican Hispanics transferred
to unruly non-Christian Indians their traditional opposition to the Moors
in Spain and to Muslims throughout Europe.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
APPENDIX B 157
52. San Gabriel Arcangel (Saint Gabriel the Archangel)
Biblical (Dan. 8:16, 9:21; Lk. 1:11-19, 26-38) March 22 or 24
Gabriel is the preeminent messenger, appearing to Daniel to explain
things to him and to Zechariah and Mary to announce and explain the
coming births of John the Baptist and Jesus. The Franciscans revered him
greatly because of his association with Christ's humanity. Hence he is
also associated with the Eucharist and often holds a monstrance. The
angelito on a few New Mexican crucifixes who holds a chalice to catch
the blood from the wound in Jesus' side should probably be identified
Winged, holding a monstrance, a chalice, a censer, or the trumpet
with which he will announce the end of the world; he sometimes also
holds a lily or a palm and is occasionaly crowned.
Enlightenment; informing God of our good works, announcing our
arrival in heaven; protecting small children.
9 = 0, 7, 2, 0.
53. San Miguel Arcangel (Saint Michael the Archangel)
Biblical (Dan. 10:13; Rev. 12:7) May 8, September 29
Michael's main task is battle against the devil and all his symbols.
Clad often in armor and crowned, holding balance-scales and a
sword or spear, standing on a snakelike monster. He weighs souls in
the pans of his balance scales, sometimes marked with a cross for eter-
nal life and a zero for punishment. As guide of the soul in its journey
to heaven, he may hold keys. In a few retablos, there is an as-yet-
unexplained bracket over his left wing.
Opponent of the devil (see Brown, Hispano Folklife of New Mexico
, 131-32) and all evil; patron of soldiers; guardian of small children.
34 = 5, 25, 4, 0.
54. San Rafael Arcangel (Saint Raphael the Archangel)
Biblical (Book of Tobit) October 24
Raphael is the guide of travelers and pilgrims and the source of
spiritual and physical health. He is also a protector against monsters.
Clad in pilgrim's garb, carrying a staff and a fish. The staff often has a
gourd of water at its top.
Patron of travelers, protector against eye trouble, protector against
30 = 9, 15, 4, 3.
55. Angel Guardian (The Guardian Angel)
Biblical (Ps. 91:11-12; Mt. 18:10; Acts 12:7-11) October 2
158 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Angels are pure spirits, less powerful than the archangels and not
known by proper names, who are thought to protect each individual
human. They have the same general duties as the archangels, particularly
guiding humans through this world and guiding the souls of the dead
from this world to the next.
A winged figure.
Guide on journeys; protector against evil spirits, especially of small
2 = 0, 1, 1, 0.
56. Abraham (Abraham)
Biblical (passim, but especially Genesis) October 9
Abraham is the progenitor of the Hebrew nation; the episode shown
on a unique New Mexican panel is told in Genesis 18.
Abraham wearing a conical hat or crown, bearded, with a staff or
perhaps an axe; attended by two angels who stand by a fruitbearing tree
with a dove in it.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
57. San Acacio (Saint Acacius of Mount Ararat)
Second century (legendary) June 22
In German understanding of him, San Acacio was the leader of about
ten thousand Roman soldiers who were converted to Christianity in
Armenia and crucified; he was unheard of before the late fourteenth
century. See Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys (1960, 1967), 92-93; Lange, El
Palacio 94 # 1 (Summer-Fall 1988), 18-24, notes that Acacio was never
much venerated in Spain or the southern portion of New Spain but only
in New Mexico and what is now northern Mexico and that the crown
of thorns rather than the traveler's or vaquero's hat was the headgear of
the original iconography.
Usually bearded, on a cross, wearing an eighteenth-century military
uniform, crucified, wearing a crown of thorns, laurel, or occasionally
roses or a hat, flanked by two or more soldiers, each of whom holds a
drum, pennant, sword, or musket.
The penitential Brothers took an interest in this patron of those who
experience crucifixion; Acacio is also a military protector against any in-
truders (see Brown, Hispano Folklife of New Mexico , 216).
16 = 2, 9, 5, 0.
APPENDIX B 15Q
57.5. Adan y Eva (Adam and Eve)
Biblical (Gen. 2-4) December 24
The first parents of the human race.
An early Rafael Aragon panel, structured like a triptych with what
may be Garden-of-Eden symbols in the side panels, shows the separa-
tion of Eve from the original bisexual Adam, the acceptance of the ap-
ple, and the expulsion from Eden; see Wroth, Christian Images (1982),
137 and color plate 103. Note the mobile creatures of the fourth day (sun
and moon), fifth day (birds; no fish are shown), and sixth day (animals
A reminder of human sinfulness, perhaps.
58. San Agustfn (Saint Augustine of Hippo)
Lived 354-430 August 28
A great convert, preacher, and doctor of the Latin Church, his
Neoplatonic theology dominated Western Europe for 1400 years.
A dove, a shell, a bishop's crozier, wearing bishop's robes.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
+ Aloysius— see San Luis Gonzaga
59. San Antonio de Padua (Saint Anthony of Padua)
Lived 1195-1232 June 13
Born in Lisbon, became a Franciscan, was trained by San Francisco
himself, became a great preacher and miracle-worker. New Mexicans
sang several hymns in his honor.
Dressed in a blue Franciscan robe, holding a palm, a lily, or a flower-
ing branch, occasionally a heart. He holds the Nino who is dressed in
red. San Antonio is clean-shaven and wears the tonsure.
Finder of lost articles, and probably of lost animals; patron of
animals, especially burros and cattle; patron of the home; invoked by
married women who want to have children, by girls to find a worthy
husband; for orphans; patron of miracles.
73 = 19, 45, 5, 4.
60. San Antonio Abad (Saint Anthony Abbot, Hermit, of Egypt)
Lived 251-356 [sic] January 17
Initiated religious communities among the solitary hermits of Egypt.
He is said to have exorcised a pig by ringing a bell.
E. Boyd identified a head from an Antonio Abad on the body of a
San Jose bulto in the Nolie Mumey Collection (# 443): an old white-
bearded man's head in a raised brown cowl. A bell; a Greek Tau on the
160 SANTOS AND SAINTS
shoulder of his habit; a bell in his hand and pig by his side.
Protection from ghosts and devils; perhaps against erysipelas, by
analogy with Europe. The original patron of Potrero de Chimayo, the
immediate locale of the Santuario de Chimayo.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
61. San Athenogenes (Saint Athenogenes)
Died about 305 July 16
A theologian, bishop, and martyr who seems to have died in
Armenia. He defended the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
All the depictions of this subject were probably meant to be San Gil
Atenogenes— Saint Giles of Athens.
[3 = 1, 2, 0, 0— these numbers will be assigned to # 84]
+ Augustine— see San Agustin.
62. San Bartolomeo (Saint Bartholomew)
Biblical (Mk. 3:18, the Nathaniel of John 1:45) August 24
He is traditioually supposed to have evangelized India and Armenia
and to have been flayed alive.
Kneeling, in a red robe, praying before a cross or crucifix.
Patron against lightning and other fearful deaths; for women in
childbed (Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys [1960, 1967], 92; Boyd, Popular
Arts of Spanish New Mexico , 372).
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
62.5. San Benito (Saint Benedict of Nursia)
Lived 480-543 March 21
Founder of Benedictine monasticism. Perhaps he and Augustine of
Hippo were the main forces in Western Christianity from their lifetimes
until Bernard of Clairvaux and the rise of the Dominican and Franciscan
orders in the thirteenth century.
A bearded man dressed in a white robe and brown hooded cape
with a black scapular, holding a crozier and a book.
Against poison, disease, and witchcraft; for a good death (one in the
state of grace).
63. San Bernardo de Claraval (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux)
Lived 1090-1153 August 20
Abbot, founder of the Cistercians, preacher of the second crusade,
writer of devotional and polemical works, especially against Abelard. He
was the founder of late medieval spirituality by turning attention to the
humanity of Christ in his infancy and his passion.
APPENDIX B 161
Crowned and bearded, holding a crucifix and a staff, with candles
in the background; his appearance on a Talpa reredos may be unique.
Perhaps his anti-Turk bias may have made him a patron against the
Indians; but the donor of the Talpa reredos was named Bernardo Duran,
so it is probably a personal patronage rather than a practical one.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
64. San Bias (Saint Blaise)
Died about 316 February 3
Supposedly a bishop and martyr, he is reputed to have been a physi-
cian and to have cured a boy with a fish-bone in his throat. San Bias
seems to have meant nothing special in New Mexican liturgy until the
Jesuit Father Biaggio (Blasius) Schiffini introduced the blessing of throats
Dressed as a priest in a long chasuble, with his hands out, bare-
headed and cleanshaven.
Against ailments of the throat, since he was beheaded.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
65. San Buenaventura (Saint Bonaventure)
Lived 1221-1274 July 14
The great Franciscan theologian and doctor of the church, biographer
of Francis of Assisi, who reputedly cured him when he was ill as a child.
He later became a cardinal.
Holding a red staff, a book, and sometimes a model of a church or
the Eucharist in a ciborium, he wears a blue Franciscan robe with red
trim and a cardinal's hat, a miter, or a crown.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
66. San Camilo de Lelis (Saint Camillus de Lellis)
Lived 1550-1614 July 14 or 18
An Italian soldier who joined the Capuchins but had to leave them
because of a disease of the feet, he founded an order of male nurses.
Standing bearded in a long robe, he blesses a sick man lying in front
of him; two figures kneel at the side.
For health, perhaps especially of the feet.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
67. San Cayetano, or Calletano, or Gaetano (Saint Cajetan)
Lived 1480-1547 August 7
A co-founder of the Theatine Order who devoted himself to the care
of the poor and sick and founded non-profit pawnshops.
102 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Wears a black cassock with a jeweled collar or necklace, often with
a cross hanging from it; carries a palm, often kneels by a table with a
biretta and cross on it. Occasionally he appears crucified, though he may
be meant merely to be standing against a cross.
Because of the pawnshops noted above, patron of gamblers; peo-
ple used to bet him a rosary or a blessed candle that he would not do
some favor for them. There may be penitential implications in the
crucifixion, though nothing in his biography suggests it.
8 = 1, 6, 1, 0.
67.5. San Clemente Papa (Pope Saint Clement of Rome)
End of the first century November 23
Converted by Saint Paul, Clement became the fourth pope. Exiled
with two thousand other Christians to Chersonesus in the Crimea, he
was thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck. His Epistle to
the Corinthians establishes him as one of the earliest apostolic Fathers
of the Church.
In oriental garb (strange hat, short coat, tight trousers called anaxy-
rides), bearded, an anchor upon his breast, with a book in his left hand
and his right hand held in blessing.
Protection against devils (an old New Mexican prayer calls him "San
Clemente mi pariente / para que el Malo no me tiente / ni de noche ni
de dia— Saint Clement my cousin / so that the Evil One may not tempt
me / either at night or during the day"), and perhaps for tanners.
68. San Cristobal (Saint Christopher)
Legendary, the third century July 25 or 30
A cluster of legends attached to a supposed giant or near-giant of
Asia Minor, who lived by a ford and carried people across the river on
his back. One night the Nino came and asked to be taken across, and
when Christopher found he could scarcely carry him despite his small
size, he took his new name ("Christbearer") and became a martyr.
A barelegged man in a kilt-like garment, standing in water, holding
the Nino on his shoulder; the Nino (dressed like Praga) holds a globe
with a cross atop it, and Christopher usually has a staff.
4 = 1, 2, 0, 1.
69. San Damaso (Saint Damasus)
Died 384 December 11
Of Spanish descent, as pope he opposed the Arians and Apoll-
Clad in a cape over a long robe, holding a palm and a crozier, wear-
APPENDIX B 103
ing the papal triple crown.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
+ Denis— see San Dionysio.
70. San Diego (Saint Didacus of Alcala)
Lived c. 1400-1453 November 13
A Franciscan lay brother with great devotion to the Eucharist, in-
voked for the cure of Don Carlos, heir to the Spanish throne, in 1562.
He is the patron of Jemez Pueblo.
Standing, holding a large cross which rests on the ground, wearing
a Franciscan robe, without a tonsure. A doubtful identification of a hide-
painting which E. Boyd later rescinded.
For health, probably.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
71. San Dionisio (Saint Denis the Areopagite, or of Paris)
First century, reputedly. October 9
There was a Dionysius converted by Paul (Acts 17:34); to this name
various legends (of different ages) and written works (of the sixth cen-
tury) were attached. He was supposed to have become bishop of Paris
and, after decapitation, to have walked back to town carrying his head
in his hands.
Wearing a red cloak over a surplice over a cassock, holding a palm
and his severed head.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
72. San Dimas (Saint Dismas)
Biblical (Lk. 23:40-43), but the name is folklore March 25
This is the "Good Thief"; according to one legend, years before he
had ransomed the Holy Family when they were taken prisoners during
the Flight into Egypt.
A man not in military garb but in a loincloth, without a crown of
thorns, tied to a cross; a part of a full crucifixion scene in which three
For repentance, probably.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
73. Santo Domingo (Saint Dominic)
Lived 1170-1221 August 4
A Castilian, an Augustinian priest who founded a new order to com-
bat the Albigensian heresy.
164 SANTOS AND SAINTS
Bearded, tonsured, wearing black and white habit, holding rosary.
Patron of the rosary.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
74. Elias el Prof eta (Elias or Elijah the Prophet)
Biblical (Books of Kings) July 20
A great prophet, associated with Mount Carmel and therefore with
An old bearded man clad in a loincloth, holding a staff, accompanied
by a raven.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
75. San Estanislao Kostka (Saint Stanislaus Kostka)
Lived 1550-1568 August 15 or September 13
A Polish youth who ran away from home to join the Jesuit Order and
died as a novice.
A youth wearing a surplice over a black cassock, holding a cross and
a palm, he is neither tonsured nor bearded.
Patron of youth, along with Luis Gonzaga, with whom he is often
3 = 0, 3, 0, 0.
76. San Esteban (Saint Stephen)
Biblical (Acts 6:8-7:60) December 26
The first martyr and one of the first seven deacons, stoned to death.
Standing in the robes of a deacon, tonsured, holding sometimes a
palm, sometimes a book, sometimes a monstrance, with the right hand
meanwhile raised in blessing. There are stones in the background.
= 0,0, 0, 0.
77. San Felipe de Jesus (Saint Philip of Jesus)
Died 1597 February 5
A native of Mexico City, he became a Franciscan, left the order, trav-
eled to the Philippines as a merchant, rejoined the Franciscans, suffered
shipwreck in Japan, and was martyred by being tied to a cross and
pierced with two lances. He is the patron of Mexico City and (somewhat
incorrectly and unofficially) of San Felipe Pueblo.
Two crossed lances behind him are the distinguishing characteristics;
otherwise, he is either kneeling with arms outstretched or standing
against a cross (he may be shown nailed to it, though historically he was
not). He may be bearded and tonsured, or either, or neither; he wears
blue Franciscan robes.
APPENDIX B 165
One informant told me he is a good antidote for mischievous
3 = 1, 2, 0, 0.
78. San Felipe Neri (Saint Philip Neri)
Lived 1515-1595 May 26
A native of Florence who founded the Congregation of the Oratory
and evangelized the people of Rome. The addition of "de" to his name
is not correct.
A dove hovers over him; he wears a cassock, biretta, and beard and
holds a rosary and sometimes a palm or a book.
For the poor; for rain.
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
79. San Fernando Rey (Saint Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Aragon)
Lived c. 1199-1252 May 30
He wears a kingly robe with an pattern and a crown (or it sits on the
arm of his throne), and he hold a pennant, a staff of office, or a flower-
ing staff. He is usually cleanshaven.
He fought the Moors throughout his reign, during which he also
gained a reputation for wisdom and sanctity.
Perhaps the Moor-Indian configuration (Chapter IV).
4 = 0, 4, 0, 0.
80. San Francisco de Asis (Saint Francis of Assisi)
Lived 1181-1226 October 4
The son of a merchant, founder of the Franciscans, dedicated to
poverty and the passion of Christ, marked by the stigmata (the wounds
of Christ in hands, feet, and side). His Order of Friars Minor had almost
sole responsibility for New Mexico until the early nineteenth century.
Wearing a blue robe with a cowl and a white cord with several knots
in it around the waist, bearded and tonsured, marked with the stigmata
on his hands and his bare or sandaled feet, he holds a crucifix or a cross
and a skull or occasionally a book.
80a. San Francisco con su Cuerda (Saint Francis with his Cord)
Very occasionally, Francis is shown holding his Franciscan cord (the
emblem of his Third Order as the small brown scapular is of the Carmel-
ite) down to souls in purgatory to rescue them as Nuestra Sehora del
Patron of birds and animals (a romantic-period emphasis, though
with some warrant in the Wolf of Gubbio tale); for reconciliation within
166 SANTOS AND SAINTS
the family; for deceased members of the Third Order; for all virtues and
20 = 2, 14, 3, 1.
81. San Francisco Javier, or Xavier (Saint Francis Xavier)
Lived 1506-1552 December 3
Born in Spain, student at the University of Paris, one of the first com-
panions of Ignatius in the founding of the Jesuits; a missionary in India
and Japan, he died on an island off the coast of China.
Wears a black cassock and a biretta, holds a palm and a cross or
crucifix; usually has a cape over his shoulders.
Perhaps of missionaries or for faith.
5 = 1, 3, 1, 0.
82. San Francisco Solano (Saint Francis Solano)
Lived 1549-1610 July 13, 14, or 24
As a Franciscan missionary in Peru, he suffered shipwreck; he had
the gift of tongues. He appears on the Cristo Rey stone altarscreen from
Wears a cloak over a black cassock (rather than the usual Franciscan
blue), with a miter or loose ''nightcap 7 ' on his head, is bearded, and
holds what may be a meant as a scourge.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
+ George— see San Jorge
83. San Geronimo (Saint Jerome)
Lived 342-420 September 30
Well educated in Rome, he lived as a hermit for a time, then acted
as secretary to the pope, then went to Palestine where he lived as a
monk and translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into the Latin
Vulgate version. In a variant of the Androclus-and-Lion tale from classi-
cal folklore, Jerome removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and the beast
then served as wrangler for the monastery's donkey. When some travel-
ing merchants stole the donkey, the monks accused the lion of having
eaten it, so the lion went out, found the real culprits, rounded them up
like so many cattle, and herded them and the donkey home. The story
(like many others told of founders of religious orders) identifies the
cloister as an unfallen Eden where humans are restored to God, humans
live together without sexual competition, and humans and animals are
once again at one. Rice, Saint Jerome in the Renaissance (1985), 37-46.
Bearded, often tonsured, clad in a red mantle, striking a stone
against his bare breast as he kneels in prayer, often before a small cross
APPENDIX B 167
or crucifix; there is almost always a lion at his feet, and the trumpet of
God's voice speaks in his ear.
Patron of children and especially orphans; against lightning.
13 = 3, 10, 0, 0.
84. San Gil Atenogenes (Saint Giles the Athenian, of Languedoc)
Died about 712 September 1
A Benedictine hermit and abbot whose tomb in Provence became
a place of pilgrimage in the middle ages.
Shown as an old man in a long hermit's robe protecting a deer; there
is often a church door (looking like anything but) in the background.
Compare this subject with San Procopio, #112, and with San Athenoge-
nes, # 61. See Schiller, Iconography of Christian Art 1:131; Boyd, El Palacio
57 (1950), 163-65; and Espinosa, El Palacio 59 (1952), 3-17.
For animals, cripples, the snake-bitten, and perhaps epileptics. The
door symbolizes salvation; see John 10:9.
3 = 1, 2, 0, (these numbers pertained originally to # 61).
85. San Gregorio (Saint Gregory the Great)
Lived c. 540-604 March 12
Mayor of Rome, he became a Benedictine monk, papal nuncio, and
finally pope. He is a doctor of the church.
A cross in his right hand with three crossbars, a miniature church
in his left, in a cape and decorated garment, wearing the pope's triple
85a. La Misa del San Gregorio (The Mass of Saint Gregory)
A legend dating from much later than Gregory's lifetime claims that
during a Mass Gregory said, Christ appeared in visible form on the altar
as the Man of Sorrows (# 13a) to prove his real presence in the conse-
Alan Vedder identified a panel on the side altarscreen in the Truchas
chapel with a cross on an altar before a kneeling figure labeled "San
Gregorio," apparently Fresquis' try at rendering the subject.
Devotion to the Eucharist; perhaps for the needs of the church.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
86. San Hipolito (Saint Hippolytus)
Died c. 235, or perhaps 258 August 13
A very confused conflation of varions persons, probably including
the Hippolytus of Euripides' tragedy who, like the saint, was dragged
to death by horses, and various more-or-less historical Christian figures.
He was associated with San Lorenzo.
168 SANTOS AND SAINTS
An armored Roman centurion on horseback.
Success in warfare, perhaps, though there is nothing in the saint's
multiplex biography suggesting he was a soldier.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
87. San Ignacio de Loyola (Saint Ignatius Loyola)
Lived c. 1491-1556 July 31
A Basque soldier, wounded in battle, becoming very devout during
his convalescence, prepared for the priesthood and hoped to be a mis-
sionary to Palestine; founded the Society of Jesus on the basis of his
Spiritual Exercises, a program of prayer.
Dressed in a chasuble or a black cassock with or without a surplice,
shown sometimes with a biretta, sometimes tonsured or bald; holding
a monstrance or a book or plaque marked "IHS"; sometimes there is an
apparition of Christ.
Against witchcraft and the evil eye; for repentance and return to the
sacraments; against illness. The penitential Brothers of Our Father Jesus
the Nazarene thought of him as the founder or organizer of their cofradia,
perhaps because his Exercises and his compahia sound like their exercises
and their cofradia.
11 = 1, 9, 1, 0.
88. San Ildefonso (Saint Ildephonsus)
Lived 607-667 January 23
A Spanish monk and abbot who became archbishop of Toledo; he
defended the doctrine of the virginity of Mary.
1 have never seen a santo I could identify as a San Ildefonso, but
since none of the other pueblo churches, much less whole pueblos, were
named for saints unrepresented by the santeros, I assume there were
santos of San Ildefonso made.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
89. San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Plowman)
Died 1170 May 15
A farmer, married to Santa Maria de la Cabeza, whose praying God
enjoyed so much he used to send an angel to do the saint's plowing and
free him for prayer.
Shown in farmer's garb, usually with a broadbrimmed hat, often
with a walking staff, oxgoad, or hocking iron; an angel guides a plow
pulled by two oxen.
Patron of farmers, of crops, petitioned for rain; patron of all workers.
14 - 2, 8, 4, 0.
APPENDIX B 169
+ Jerome— see San Geronimo
90. San Joachim (Saint Joachim)
Legendary March 20, August 16, 10, or 20
The father of the Virgin Mary.
He appears as an elderly man in a blue cloak over a white alb in a
retablo by Pedro Fresquis, Museum of New Mexico A. 60.8.1, that is pro-
bably better interpreted as "La Santa Parentela— The Holy Extended
Family" rather than as an Allegory of the Redemption. See Wroth, Chris-
tian Images (1982), 182.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
+ James the Greater— see Santiago
90.5. Job (Job)
I used to accept the prevailing opinion that no New Mexican santos
were correctly identified as Job, that those that seemed to actually
represented Christ in his passion (subject # 12a especially); but recently
some figures have been identified as images of Job by the persons or
groups who have owned them for years. A cult to Saint Job was espec-
ially strong in the Low Countries, great sources of graphics for the
Spanish Empire. Since Job is a type of innocence suffering patiently and
redemptively, he is not adequately distinguishable from his perfect anti-
type Christ, and hence the ambiguous iconography is a fine instance of
creative ambiguity. The presence of a crown of thorns or a rope would,
of course, indicate a Christ figure— Jesus Nazareno, Ecce Homo, or El
Varon de los Dolores. Reau 2:1:310-18, especially 315; Boyd, El Palacio 61
(1954), 65-69; Shalkop, Wooden Saints (1967), 44-45; Frank, New Kingdom
of the Saints (1992), 157-58.
A bearded man wearing a loincloth, covered with wounds or sores,
seated with head on hand.
Patience in trials, acceptance of God's mysterious will.
91. San Jorge (Saint George)
Legendary, supposedly third or fourth century April 23
There may have been a Palestinian martyr named George, but
the legends tell of a dragon-killing maiden-saving warrior, model of
In soldier's garb, on horseback, piercing a dragon with a spear.
For success in battle.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
170 SANTOS AND SAINTS
92. San Jose Patriarca (Saint Joseph)
Biblical (Mt. 1 and 2; Lk. 1 and 2) March 19
Spouse of Mary and foster father of Jesus, traditionally a carpenter.
Shown in New Mexico as a younger man than in most European art,
he has a dark beard and dark hair, carries a flowering staff, holds the
Nino, and wears a brightly colored and often intricately patterned robe.
He is sometimes crowned; occasionally there is a basket of carpenter's
tools by his feet.
Patron of a happy death (since Christ traditionally was said to have
been with him); of fathers and of families; of carpenters and all workers.
59 = 14, 30, 14, 1.
93. San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist)
Biblical (all gospels) June 24 and August 29
The forerunner of Christ, a preacher hermit who baptized Christ
among his converts and recognized him as the Messiah, calling him the
Lamb of God. Dressed in a hermit's cloak, holding a shepherd's crook
or a staff with a cross on top and a banner hanging from it; with a lamb
in his arms or by his side.
Patron of sheep and shepherds and of the purity of water, all of
which was believed to become pure on June 24.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
93.5. San Juan de Dios (Saint John of God)
1495-1550 March 8
After a sudden conversion, Juan founded a variant of the Franciscans
dedicated to aiding the ill and needy.
The Millicent Rogers Museum has a Fresquis panel of the saint,
plainly labeled "San Juan de dios," wearing black Franciscan robes and
holding a staff topped with cross in one hand and a book and rosary in
the other. There is an altar with a crucifix and a reliquary or monstrance
in the background.
94. San Juan Evangelista (Saint John the Evangelist, the Divine)
Biblical December 27
Apostle and evangelist, usually identified as the "beloved disciple,"
one of the "Sons of Thunder," who was traditionally believed to have
lived into the second century and died on the Island of Patmos.
Bearded, wearing a biretta and a dark cloak over a light tunic, holding
a book and pointing to it; or, wringing his hands, bareheaded and usually
beardless, especially as part of a Calvario (crucifixion group).
Compassion with Our Lady of Sorrows and through her with Jesus
in his passion.
4 = 0, 2, 2, 0.
APPENDIX B 171
95. San Juan Nepomuceno (Saint John Nepomucene, or Nepomuk)
Lived 1345-1393 May 16
The confessor to the queen of Bohemia, he refused to report her sins
to the jealous King Wenceslaus and was drowned. Later research sug-
gests that the occasion for his killing was a simply political power strug-
gle between king and archbishop.
Usually bearded, wearing a surplice, black cassock, and biretta,
holding a cross and palm.
Patron of silence and secrecy, especially for the humbly anonymous
penitent Brothers; protector against gossip and slander; patron of
30 = 9, 15, 3, 3.
96. San Longino (Saint Longinus)
Biblical-legendary March 15
Longinus is the name assigned to the soldier in John 19:34 who
pierced Jesus' side; it derives from the Greek word for spear. He was said
to have spoken clearly after his teeth and tongue were removed during
Dressed as a soldier, with a bloodied spear; there is a church in the
background, and other soldiers usually accompany him.
Patron of soldiers, protector against injustice.
2 = 1, 1, 0, 0.
97. San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence)
Died c. 258 August 10
Traditionally said to be of Spanish birth, he was a Roman deacon
in service to the pope, martyred by being burned on a gridiron.
Glad in a deacon's dalmatic, usually tonsured and beardless, holding
a palm and a gridiron, often a cross, a book and/or a chalice.
Protector against fire; patron of the poor, of crops during August,
and of chickens (Brown, Hispanic Folklife , 140). San Lorenzo will
control the wind if you light a palm blessed on Palm Sunday and throw
it into the wind while reciting a prayer to the saint.
5 = 0, 5, 0, 0.
98. San Luis Gonzaga (Saint Aloysius Gonzaga)
Lived 1568-1591 June 21
Of a noble Italian family, he joined the Jesuits; while a seminarian,
he died of the plague contracted when nursing the sick.
Clad in a white alb and a dark cloak with sleeves, holding a palm
and a crucifix, tonsured but not bearded.
Patron of youth and especially their purity; patron or protector of
172 SANTOS AND SAINTS
dancers (see Brown, Hispano Folklife , 187; Weigle and White, Lore
of New Mexico , 193-94).
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
99. San Luis Rey (Saint Louis IX, King of France)
Lived 1214-1270 August 25
A prayerful man, a Franciscan tertiary, and a good king, he went on
two crusades, being captured on the first and dying of dysentery on the
Standing, sometimes in armor but sometimes in the Franciscan robe
and cord, wearing a crown, with a skull, a crown of thorns, and the
three nails of the passion nearby.
Probably patron of war against Moors and hence in New Mexico
against uncooperative Indians.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
100. San Martin de Tours (Saint Martin of Tours)
Lived c. 315-397 November 11
While a soldier, he divided his cloak with a beggar who turned out
to be Christ in disguise; he left the army to become a Christian; he was
later bishop of Tours.
On horseback, clad in soldier's uniform, holding half of a short cloak
cut in two; Christ as a scantily-clad beggar (halo, crown of thorns,
stigmata) holds the other half.
Presumably of soldiers and the poor.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
101. San Martiniano (Saint Martinian)
see Santos Processo y Martiniano
101.5. San Mateo (Saint Matthew)
Biblical September 21
Converted from his tax-collector's table, he authored the gospel that
bears his name; he was martyred with lances.
Robed and bearded, hands clasped in prayer, large monstrance
before him, small monstrance beyond— a unique Jose Aragon panel.
102. Melquisedec (Melchizedek)
Biblical (Gen. 14:18; Hebr. 7:1-19). No Feast Day.
A gentile priest-king to whom Abraham did homage, taken as a
prefigurement of Christ as priest of the Eucharist because of Melchise-
dek's association with bread and wine.
Beardless, wearing a red robe with a blue sash and a beehive crown
APPENDIX B 173
with a cross on top, holding a chalice with a cross-topped host emerg-
ing from it. He is paired with Moses on either side of Gabriel.
Eucharistic connections, probably.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
103. Moises (Moses)
Biblical (Exodus, especially) September 4
The leader of the Hebrew people from Egypt to the Promised Land.
A black-bearded man in a long robe holding the tablets of the law;
three rays come from his head (see Ex. 34:35).
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
104. San Nicolas Obispo (Saint Nicholas of Myra)
Died c. 350. December 6
A bishop renowned for good works (giving money to dower poor
girls) and miracles (raising to life three children who had been pickled
in a brine tub).
Wearing a bishop's cape over a white alb and a miter, bearded,
holding a palm and a dove in a cup or shell.
For children and marriageable girls, probably.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
105. San Onofre (Saint Onophrius or Humphrey)
Died c. 400. June 12
An Egyptian hermit, reputed to have worn only a loincloth of leaves
and his own abundant hair.
Kneeling in a loincloth or a hermit's cloak, either holding a crucifix
or with one on a ledge before him, perhaps showing the wounds of
Probably a patron of penitence.
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
106. San Pascual Bailon (Saint Pascal Baylon)
Lived 1540-1592 May 17
This shepherd became a Franciscan lay brother and worked in the
dining room or as doorkeeper; very devoted to the Eucharist.
Standing in priest's chasuble, bearded, holding a monstrance, sur-
rounded by sheep.
Patron of sheep and shepherds; his patronage of cooking may be a
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
174 SANTOS AND SAINTS
107. San Patricio (Saint Patrick)
Lived c. 389-c. 461 March 17
Perhaps British, perhaps Italian in origin, he was taken to Ireland
as a slave, escaped, became a priest, returned to Ireland as a missionary
and became the first bisbop.
I have never seen this subject, but it is listed in Espinosa, Saints in
the Valleys (1960, 1967), 92.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
108. San Pedro Apostol (Saint Peter the Apostle)
Died c. 55 June 29
The leader of the apostles, the first pope, the custodian of the "keys
of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:19), hence in folklore the keeper
of the gates of heaven. In Mexican and New Mexican religious folklore,
he takes the trickster's role; see Hynes and Steele, "Saint Peter: Apostle
Transfigured into Trickster," in Doty and Hynes, eds., Mythical Trickster
Figures (1993), 159-73.
In long robes, bearded, with a key or keys, sometimes also holding
a book; he often wears the triple papal tiara and sometimes carries a
Patron of happy death and admission to heaven; for the freedom
of prisoners (see Acts 12:6-11); patron of church unity; protector from
6 = 2, 3, 1, 0.
109. San Pedro Claver (Saint Peter Claver)
Lived 1580-1654 September 8
A Spanish Jesuit who did missionary work among the slaves im-
ported to Central and South America.
1 have never seen an example of this subject, but Willard Hougland,
Santos, A Primitive American Art (1946), 42, describes "San Francisco
Xavier" as depicted with "crucifix, bell, vessel, and negro. Portrayed as
standing figure with beard, in white surplice." This is surely Claver's
iconography, not Xavier's.
Missionary work, probably.
- 0, 0, 0, 0.
110. San Pedro Nolasco (Saint Peter Nolasco)
Lived c. 1182-1258 January 31
Fought as a soldier against the Albigensians, a co-founder of the
Mercedarians, an order to ransom captives of the Moors.
Wears chasuble or full scapular, bearded but not tonsured; hands
APPENDIX B 175
clasped; one angel holds a book in one hand and places the other on
the saint's head, another angel holds a crucifix.
Protector against the Moors in Spain, hence probably against Indians
in New Mexico; patron of freedom for their captives.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
110.5. San Policarpio (Saint Polycarp of Smyrna)
Died 155 January 26 (formerly February 1)
A convert of the Johannine church and the bishop of Smyrna, he
was burned to death.
Standing in a short robe, holding three nails (?) in one hand and a
three-branched palm in the other, with spots on his lower legs. His sole
New Mexican appearance resulted from Policarpio Cordova's donating
the side altarscreen of Ranchos de Taos; see Boyd, Popular Arts of Spanish
New Mexico (1974), 353, 357; Wroth, Chapel of Our Lady ofTalpa (1979), 29,
Patron against earaches.
+ Philip (of Jesus, Neri)— see Felipe de Jesus, Felipe Neri.
111. Santos Processo y Martiniano (Saints Processus and Martinian)
Perhaps second century July 2
Roman martyrs whose tomb and basilica on the Appian Way were
venerated from early times; legend identifies them as jailers converted
by Peter and Paul.
Both clothed in Roman tunics and cloaks, holding spear and palms,
being baptized by an angel with a shell of water; a prisonlike structure
in the background.
Perhaps military patrons.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
112. San Procopio (Saint Procopius)
Lived c. 930-1053 July 4
A Bohemian, by some accounts a king, who became a hermit in the
forest where a deer took refuge with him when hunters pursued it; the
saint later founded an abbey.
Wears a biretta or miter and a black cloak over a white robe and
holds a book or a cross, a palm or a staff; there is a deer (rarely well
drawn) nearby. Compare San Gil Atonogenes, # 84.
Protector of animals; perhaps there is a Diana-Artemis syndrome,
with chastity, hunting, and protection of young animals being found
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
176 SANTOS AND SAINTS
113. San Ramon Nonato (Saint Raymond Nonnatus)
Died 1240 August 31
A Mercedarian (see #110), he traded himself into captivity to free
some prisoners from the Moors; while a slave he refused to quit preach-
ing as told, so his lips were padlocked; once released, he became a car-
dinal. His epithet refers to his being a Caesarian birth from a dead
Wearing orange or red chasuble or cloak over white robes; holding
a monstrance and a wand with three crowns on it; bearded; sometimes
with dots above and below his lips.
Patron of pregnant women, women in childbed, and the unborn;
a husband whose wife was in labor might sing and dance to San Ramon
(Lamadrid in Herrere-Sobek, Reconstructing a Chicano/a Literary Heritage
, 194). Patron of anonymity and secrecy for the Penitentes; protector
against being slandered or cursed; protector of captives and those op-
pressed by the infidel, with a possible application to Anglo land-grant
manipulators (Robb, Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest
22 = 6, 9, 4, 3.
114. San Roque (Saint Roch)
Died 1337 August 16
A French layman who devoted his life to the care of the plague-
Usually dressed in a tunic, cloak, and boots with a traveler's hat and
a staff, sometimes as a beggar; occasionally he is shown in a blue Fran-
ciscan habit. A dog licks his prominently displayed sores, and sometimes
an angel brings him bread.
Against plague, especially smallpox; against wounds; against cancer;
pardon from sins and punishment for them. (New Mexicans confuse San
Roque with Job and with Lazarus the beggar of Luke 16:19-31.)
3 = 1, 2, 0, 0.
115. Santiago (Saint James the Greater, Apostle; of Compostella)
Biblical July 25
Brother to John the Evangelist, with whom he may take the Castor
role of the Dioscuri, James was reputed to have been the apostle of
Spain; his shrine at Compostella in northwest Spain was a famous
medieval pilgimage goal. The six Jameses in the New Testament are con-
stantly confused and conflated. Santiago appeared numerous times
during the history of Spain (especially at Clavijo) as well as in the early
days of Christianity in Mexico, New Mexico, and southern Colorado. See
APPENDIX B 777
Rafael Heliodoro Valle, Santiago en America (1946), 19-20; Joseph Winter,
New Mexico Magazine (March 1986), 53-57; Robert Torrez, El Palacio 95 #
2 (Spring-Summer 1990), 46-55.
Bearded, in a soldier's uniform with a spear or sword and a pen-
nant, he rides his horse over the bodies of fallen Moors.
115a. Santiago como Peregrino (Saint James as Pilgrim)
When a figure remarkably resembling the Santo Nino de Atocha ap-
pears standing rather than sitting, he is possibly meant to be Santiago
as Pilgrim (to his own shrine at Compostella). When the figure sports
a beard, he is surely Santiago whether he is standing or sitting; see
Boyd, Saints and Saint-Makers (1946), 85; Americas 22 # 9 (September 1970),
cover; Wroth, Christian Images (1982), 141, 152.
Patron of warriors, especially when fighting the enemies of the
church; patron of horsemen, of corridas del gallo, of the sowing of fields.
He appeared at various battles fought by the Spanish against both Moors
and Native Americans; see Chapter IV above and Donna Pierce, Santiago:
Saint of Two Worlds (1991), 37.
14 = 6, 4, 2, 2.
+ Stanislaus— see San Estanislao
+ Stephen— see San Esteban
115.5. Santo Tomas Apostol (Saint Thomas the Apostle)
Biblical December 21
After his doubt and his profession of faith (John 20), he went to In-
dia, converting the Indians until he was martyred by being pierced with
Bearded and bare-headed, he wears a long green cloak over a red-
brown robe. He might hold the lance of his martyrdom.
For faith; perhaps for the conversion of the (American) Indians.
116. Santo Tomas Aquino (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
Lived c. 1225-1273 March 7
Of Italian birth, became a Dominican theologian at the University
of Paris, composed eucharistic hymns.
Wearing a red mantle over white Dominican garb; holding a book
and a shepherd's staff, tonsured and bearded; occasionally with a miter.
Patron of studies and students, of priests; protector against witch-
craft; patron of faith (here perhaps confused with "Doubting Thomas"
the apostle of John 20, # 115.5).
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
178 SANTOS AND SAINTS
117. Santo Toribio (Saint Turibius of Mogrobejo)
Lived 1538-1606 Variously April 27, March 23, June 8
A lay lawyer, he served as head of the Inquisition at Granada; later
he took orders and became bishop of Lima.
Wearing a bishop's robe and miter; cleanshaven.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
118. San Vicente Ferrer (Saint Vincent Ferrer)
Lived 1350-1419 April 5
Son of an English father and Spanish mother, he was a Dominican
preacher who worked especially among Spanish Jews and Moors and
also worked to heal a papal schism. He advocated corporal penance and
salutary fear of God. He was reputedly a wonderworker.
Winged, holding a crucifix with his left hand and pointing to God
with his right index finger; wearing a tonsure, a black cloak over a white
gown, a rosary around his neck; a skull in the background. See Boyd,
El Palacio 57 (1950), 193-97.
Patron of charity; perhaps a patron of penitents; patron of a good
death. Padre Martinez printed a prayer for a good death derived from
him (New Mexico Historical Review 12:38), and Ruben Cobos collected a
prayer-poem: "San Vicente esta en la gloria, / lo debemos venerar; /
dichosas las criaturas / que en ella pueden entrar— Saint Vincent is in
heaven, / so we should reverence him; / happy those persons / who can
2 = 1, 1, 0, 0.
-I- Agnes— see Santa Ines
119. Santa Ana (Saint Ann)
Legendary name of the mother of Mary July 26
Joachim and Ann were the legendary names given the parents of
Mary, the grandparents of Jesus; in the extended families of New Mex-
ico, grandparenthood was a very important relationship.
A woman holding or standing near a small girl.
Mother-child relationships, family needs; patron of women riding
horses, since her feast immediately follows that of Santiago the patron
5 = 0, 3, 1, 1.
120. Santa Apolonia (Saint Apollonia of Alexandria)
Died 249 February 9
APPENDIX B 179
An aged deaconess, she had her teeth broken off, then was led to
a bonfire and asked to renounce Christ, whereupon she jumped into the
In a long dress, with long hair and no veil; hands tied; having teeth
broken by a Roman soldier with large pliers.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
121. Santa Barbara (Saint Barbara)
Legendary, third or fourth century December 4
A legend originating in the tenth century or so avers that her father
shut her up in a tower and killed her for her faith, whereupon lightning
killed him. She owes a lot to Danae.
Wearing a crown, often with red plumes, holding a palm and a
monstrance; a long dress with three flounces (honoring the Trinity); a
tower in the background, often with three windows, and a thundercloud
Against lightning and tempests; a rhyming prayer ran, "Santa Bar-
bara doncella, Libera nos del rayo y la centella— Holy virgin Barbara,
protect us from the thunderbolt and the flash."
16 = 4, 10, 2, 0.
122. Santa Caterina, or Catalina, de Siena (Saint Catherine of Siena)
Lived c. 1347-1380 April 30
A Dominican nun who lived at home, worked with the poor, and
persuaded the pope to return to Rome from Avignon.
A white or white-and-black nun's habit, holding a sceptre with what
seem to be three diamonds on it and a cross with a pennant; a crown
of thorns, the three nails of the passion, and two candles are nearby.
Against talking uncharitably of others, against infection, and against
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
123. Santa Clara (Saint Clare)
Lived c. 1193-1253. August 12
A native of Assisi, foundress with Francis's help of the Franciscan
nuns (Poor Clares); a very committed penitent.
Wearing Franciscan nun's habit, holding a monstrance.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
124. Santa Coleta (Saint Colette)
Lived 1351-1448 March 6
180 SANTOS AND SAINTS
A carpenter's daughter who dropped out of two orders of nuns,
became a recluse, then revived the local Franciscan convent and even-
tually became superioress of the entire order of Poor Clares.
Wearing a white nun's habit with a black veil, holding a crucifix.
1 = 1, 0, 0, 0.
125. Santa Deluvina (Saint Lydwina of Schiedam)
Lived 1380-1433 April 14
A Dutch peasant's daughter who met with an accident at the age of
sixteen, was permanently bedridden, became a mystic.
Wearing a red and white dress without hood or veil, long hair, not
holding anything in her clasped hands, praying to a crucifix. See Boyd,
El Palacio 59 (1952), 101, and Espinosa, El Palacio 61 (1954), 70-73.
Patron of those who suffer for the sins of others.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
+ Elizabeth of Portugal— see Santa Isabel
125.5. Santa Felicia (Saint Felicity)
Died about 165 November 23
The Folk Art Museum researchers identified a bulto at Cordova as
Felicity, a Roman matron who encouraged her seven sons to accept
martyrdom under Marcus Aurelius, then accepted her own death. The
legend derived from 2 Maccabees 7, the name from the folklore that
came to surround it.
Standing in a gown, with pictures of seven young men's heads on
a scapular-like piece of cloth that falls from her neck to her feet.
For the birth of a son.
126. Santa Flora de Cordova (Saint Flora of Cordova)
Died 856 November 24
One of two Christian maidens who were beheaded by the Moors;
there is a legend that Flora's brother, a Moor, threatened the pair with
Wearing a dress with a crossed sash in front, holding a cross, with
a wound in the back of her neck.
For sexual purity; against rape, perhaps.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
127. Santa Gertrudis (Saint Gertrude the Great)
Lived 1256-1302 November 16
A German Benedictine nun and mystic with a great devotion to the
heart of Christ as a symbol of mystical union with him; she is patron of
APPENDIX B 181
the West Indies, then understood to include New Mexico.
Wearing a black nun's habit, holding a crosier or simple staff with
a pennant, holding a heart which is occasionally circled with thorns.
Patron of the medieval devotion to the Sacred Heart; patron of the
young, especially students; perhaps for faith and for souls in purgatory.
15 = 6, 8, 0, 1.
128. Santa Ines del Campo (Saint Inez, Agnes, or Josepha— her name
in religion— of Benigamin)
1625-1696 January 21 or 22
A discalced Augustinian nun of a convent near Valencia, especially
devoted to the eucharist.
A long garment, sometimes a nun's veil or wimple, sometimes long
hair; holding a palm and candle or a staff which is in flower; in a land-
scape of sorts sometimes with lambs.
Of persons and animals lost in the wilderness, of those who work
outdoors, of transients and runaways; for purity; for trees, flowers, crops,
and flocks. There is a great alabanza in her honor, and Pedro Fresquis
wrote on a retablo of her, "Santa Ynes deve ser Abogada de lo perdido
en el campo— Saint Ines, you must be the advocate of anyone or any-
thing lost in the outdoors."
2 = 1, 1, 0, 0.
129. Santa Isabel de Portugal (Saint Elizabeth of Portugal)
Lived 1271-1336 July 8
Grand-niece of the king of Hungary, daughter of the king of Aragon,
wife of the king of Portugal (a very bad husband to her), she served as
a peace-maker and retired in her widowhood to live with the Franciscan
nuns as a member of the Third Order.
Dressed in a queen's crown and royal robe, holding a cross.
Possibly for peace, possibly with penitential Brotherhood associa-
tions; of midwives and curanderas.
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
+ Kummernis— see Santa Librada
+ Ledwina or Lydwina— see Santa Dulubina
130. Santa Librada (Saint Liberata, Kmmernis, Uncumber, or Wilgefortis)
Legendary July 20
Reputedly the daughter of a Portuguese king, one of nine sisters born
of a single birth, she wished to devote herself to Christ; her father, who
at first had tried to kill all nine and subsequently wanted to marry them
off to his advantage, was somewhat thwarted when Librada grew a
beard, so he had her crucified. The whole tale grew up, it seems, from
182 SANTOS AND SAINTS
a misinterpretation of an early-medieval clothed crucified Christ; see Hip-
polyte Delahaye, The Legends of the Saints (1961; original 1907); Roland
Dickey, New Mexico Village Arts (1949), 157; Espinosa, Saints in the Valleys
(1960, 1967), 93-94.
A crucified woman in long robes, with a hood or long hair; in New
Mexico she never sports a beard.
A penitential saint for women.
9 = 0, 8, 1, 0.
131. Santa Lucia (Saint Lucy)
Died 304 December 13
A Sicilian maiden, reputed to have been denounced as a Christian
by her rejected suitor; her virginity was saved despite her being sent
to a house of prostitution, and her life was saved despite her being
thrown into the fire, but finally her throat was successfully cut. In some
accounts, she was blinded ("lucia" means "light" in Italian).
A young girl in long robes carrying a palm and a pair of eyes (dup-
licates of her own) on a dish.
Against disease of the eyes.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
132. Santa Margarita de Cortona (Saint Margaret of Cortona)
Lived 1247-1297 February 22
The mistress of a young nobleman, bearing him a child; seeing in
his death a warning, she publicly repented her sins, joined the Franciscan
Third Order, and served the sick, living otherwise the life of a recluse.
A woman in nun's garb carrying a cross and a handkerchief.
For charity to the poor; against eye trouble.
3 = 3, 0, 0, 0.
133. Santa Maria Magdalena (Saint Mary Magdalen)
Biblical (the real Magdalen is treated in Lk. 8:2, Mk. 15:47, and 16:1-9;
she is generally identified with the woman in Lk. 7:36-50, occasionally
with the woman in John 8:3-11, and sometimes with Mary the sister of
Martha and Lazarus in John 11) July 22
Mary, not the sister of Martha and Lazarus, was a harlot converted
by Christ, a witness of his crucifixion and resurrection.
In a long green dress, red cloak, no veil, praying.
Patron of conversion from an evil life especially for women; she is
particularly prayed to on Good Friday, since she stood beneath the cross.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
APPENDIX B 183
134. Santa Rita de Casia (Saint Rita of Cascia)
Lived 1381-1457 May 22
By her parents' wish, she married a man who turned out to be a
bad husband; became a nun when he and her two sons all died; had
mystical experiences during one of which a thorn from Christ's crown
pierced her forehead.
Wearing a nun's habit, holding a cross and a skull, occasionally with
a wound on her forehead or the full stigmata.
Patron of girls in need of husbands, of marriage, of mothers, of those
in bad marriages, of all who must bear suffering; for the impossible;
against sickness. There was a fear that too great a devotion to Santa Rita
might bring a woman both the virtue of patience and a bad husband to
help her exercise it. She probably also had penitential associations.
18 = 3, 12, 2, 1.
135. Santa Rosa de Lima (Saint Rose of Lima)
Lived 1586-1617 August 30
Like Catherine of Siena, she lived in her parents' home as a Domin-
ican tertiary; a friend of Santo Toribio.
In a nun's garb of white dress and blue cloak, holding a crucifix and
sometimes a scourge and a crown of thorns, with roses in background.
2 = 0, 2, 0, 0.
136. Santa Rosa de Viterbo (Saint Rose of Viterbo)
Lived 1234-1252 September 4
A poor girl, she preached in the streets of Viterbo against the Ghibel-
lines and for the Guelphs, the papal faction; reputed to have been sub-
jected to an ordeal by fire; refused entrance to the Franciscan nuns but
eventually buried in their convent.
Wearing a white dress with a green cloak and a crown of thorns; car-
rying a basket and a staff or cross.
Possible association with penance.
= 0, 0, 0, 0.
137. Santa Rosalia de Palermo (Saint Rosalia of Palermo)
Died c. 1160 September 4
According to a Sicilian legend, she was a girl of good family who
became a hermit; many years after her death, she saved Palermo from
a plague and so became its patron.
Wearing a black, brown, or grey dress, a crown of roses, long hair,
holding a cross, usually a skull, sometimes a book or a scourge.
Protector against plague, prayed to at velorios for the dead; patron
184 SANTOS AND SAINTS
of engaged couples; probably patron of penance for the women aux-
iliaries of the Brotherhood. One stanza of an alabanza praises her: "Con-
tigo el demonio / se muestra impaciente / de ver a tu cuerpo / haces
penitente— With you the devil / shows himself exasperated / seeing that
you make / your body a penitent/'
12 = 2, 6, 0, 4.
138. Santa Teresa de Avila (Saint Theresa of Avila)
Lived 1515-1582 October 15
A Discalced Carmelite, leader of the reform of the order, mystic.
Wearing a nun's garb usually of white and black, often a cloak;
holding a crucifix, a crozier with a banner reading "IHS" and having the
same emblem on her breast, and/or a palm.
Patron of faith; protector from "the ditch of perdition."
5 = 1, 4, 0, 0.
+ Uncumber— See Santa Librada
138.5. Santa Ursula (Saint Ursula)
Legendary October 21
Perhaps someone misunderstood the letters XI MM W (eleven
virgin martyrs) as eleven thousand virgins and then rationalized his
misunderstanding by borrowing some Niebelungen traits and concoct-
ing a wild tale of a Christian British princess who did not want to marry
a pagan prince, proposed extravagant conditions all of which were
dutifully met, and was finally killed by the Huns, who were thereupon
(not a moment too late) chased off by angels.
Rich robes, crown, pennant in her right hand, and in her left a
scepter or spear elaborately decorated with flowers and a pennant; see
Christian Images (1982), 152.
139. Santa Veronica con el Rostro (Saint Veronica with the Veil)
Legendary (Sixth Station of the Way of the Cross) Good Friday
This subject has been dealt with above, #15.
When the saint holds the veil, she usually is clad in a nun's habit.
Imprint of Jesus in our hearts; miracles, converts, sexual purity. Also,
through association of Santa Veronica with the woman in Mt. 9:20-22
and Mk. 5:25-34, against hemorrhages.
8 = 4, 3, 1, 0.
+ Wilgefortis— see Santa Librada
APPENDIX B 185
140. La Alma Sola (The Last Soul Left in Purgatory)
Allegorical No Feast Day
The last soul to remain in Purgatory after all others had been cleansed
from sin and united with Christ in Heaven. See Lange, Santos de Palo
(1991), 18 and 23-24 and fig. 31.
A standing or kneeling-and-floating figure of indeterminate sex in
a white robe with arms crossed on breast; something like a star in the
background. A particolored skirt may be meant to represent the sup-
posed flames of Purgatory. This subject very much resembles # 41a ex-
cept for that figure's crown of roses.
Probably a sort of patron of retaining baptismal innocence.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
141. Las Calveras (Skulls)
Allegorical No Feast Day
These allegorical reminders of death, sometimes occurring as at-
tributes of saints, here occur by themselves.
Various skulls, possibly meant to serve as an altar frontal during
funerals, on November 2, and at other appropriate times.
A reminder of death and of the need to die in the state of justification.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
142. El Escudo de San Francisco (The Franciscan Shield)
Allegorical No Feast Day
The emblem of the Franciscan Order.
A cross, with two men's arms crossed in front of it, the one (of
Christ) bare, the other (of Saint Francis) in the sleeve of the blue Fran-
ciscan habit, each palm marked with a nail wound.
A reminder of the passion of Christ.
1 = 0, 1, 0, 0.
143. Doha Sebastiana, La Carreta, El Angel de Muerte (The Death Cart)
Allegorical No Feast Day
A reminder of death, not to be prayed to; used as a penitental in-
strument in Holy Week processions. All death carts date from after the
middle of the nineteenth century. Arrows symbolize epidemic sickness
(cf. Iliad I). Death may bear the name "Sebastiana" because St. Sebas-
tian was martyred with arrows.
An allegorical figure of death as a skeletal or corpselike woman with
a bow and arrow or a club. Most often recognized as only a reminder,
it was perhaps in some places superstitiously prayed to for longer life.
Steele, Colorado Magazine 55 (1978), 1-14; Wroth, Images of Penance, Images
186 SANTOS AND SAINTS
of Mercy (1991), 149-59.
5 = 0, 0, 4, 1.
144.0. El Flagelante Espectral (The Ghostly Penitent)
Allegorical No Feast Day
A reminder to each Brother of Our Father Jesus to do promptly
anything of obligation, or he might have to return after death to perform
A skeletal figure kneeling before a cross with a scourge in its hand;
see Weigle, Western Folklore 36 (1977), 135-47.
For prompt fulfilment of duties.
145.0. Relicario (Reliquary)
This seems to be a santero subject as such wherein the artist depicts
the reliquary and its content, a relic of some saint, shown in the form
of his or her body. See TM 1136 in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts
Center, where a dead male Franciscan in shown lying in a monstrance-
like reliquary. Reliquaries occur commonly in early eighteenth century
New Mexican inventories.
This is a list of the thirty most commonly represented subjects of the
New Mexico santeros, according to my analysis of a thousand santos.
The list includes all saints represented ten times out of a thousand or
oftener; hence it includes all who make up one percent or more of the
sample. The top five subjects total 31.6% of the sample, the next five
only 11.4%. The thirty account for 74.3% of the thousand. Our Lady is
represented in 22.7% of the thousand.
81 Cristo Crucificado (Crucifijo)
73 San Antonio de Padua
59 San Jose Patriarca
53 Nuestra Sehora de los Dolores
50 Nuestra Sehora de Guadalupe
34 San Miguel Arcangel
30 San Rafael Arcangel
San Juan Nepomuceno
26 El Santo Nino de Atocha
24 Nuestra Sehora del Carmen
22 Nuestra Sehora de San Juan
de los Lagos
San Ramon Nonato
21 Jesus Nazareno (Ecce Homo)
Nuestra Sehora de la Purfsima
20 San Francisco de Asfs
18 Santa Rita de Casia
16 San Acacio
14 Nuestra Sehora de la Soledad
San Isidro Labrador
13 La Santisima Trinidad
La Sagrada Familia
El Santo Nino de Praga
12 Santa Rosalia
11 San Ignacio de Loyola
10 Nuestra Sehora Refugio de
This chart will help identify any New Mexico santo, whether retablo or
bulto. It is divided into five main sections: Multiple Main Figures; Single
Main Male Child; Single Main Male Adult; Single Main Female Figure;
Not Complete Person. Within some of these sections there are ap-
propriate subdivisions. First choose the proper section, then identify the
main features of iconography— how the figure is dressed, what he or she
is holding, and so forth. Then work through the section in question and
any appropriate subdivisions, copying down the numerals as they oc-
cur, noting numbers that occur repeatedly, and finally referring to the
subjects as numbered in Appendix B.
Not all santos can be identified, especially bultos which have lost
items once attached to them, but also retablos, and those even if they
are in good condition. This chart came into existence twenty years ago
because I had been trying for four years to identify a Jose Aragon retablo
in the Regis University collection; that I am still unsuccessful indicates
the continuing limitations of this chart.
Multiple Main Figures
(Not including an adult holding a child, an altarscreen,
or a retablo with different subjects separated from each
other by interior borders)
More than three persons:
Two women embracing in the center, a man on each side— 3.7
Crucified man in soldier's garb plus soldiers— 57
Christ, virgin, angels, priest, deacons— 20
Christ Child above, cross below, each flanked by two figures— 5.5
Christ on donkey, crowd holding palms— 11
Rising Christ, angels, soldiers, etc.— 22
Angels— 52-54 (Archangels, sometimes presented as a group)
Abraham with two angels and a dove (Trinity)— 56
APPENDIX C 18Q
Crucified man in soldier's garb plus soldiers— 57
Men, especially with triangular halos— 1
Man, angel, woman on donkey holding Nino— 4
Man, woman, child in middle— 5
Man on cross with loincloth, two standing figures— 16
Man's face repeated three times on veil (perhaps held by woman)— 15a
Men, one old, one young (perhaps lying dead), dove— 1
Man and angel, with oxen and plow— 89
Man with flowering staff, woman, dove— 3.3
Woman, angel, dove— 3.5
Man and woman kneeling on either side of a manger— 3.9
Man leading donkey ridden by woman holding child— 4
Nude man and woman in garden— 57.5
Soldier pulling woman's teeth— 120
Single Main Male Child
Reclining or sitting figure of infant— 6 (Nino— but probably if very small
meant to be an attribute of a larger bulto)
Sitting on a chair, or occasionally standing, with baskets of roses, holding
basket of roses and a pilgrim's staff with a gourd of water; in legirons,
hat, sandals or shoes— 7
Standing figure in loincloth— 8
Holding globe with cross on top, in red robe, crowned— 9
Floating in air, wearing white garment, star in background— 140
Single Main Male Adult
Single Main Male Adult, ON or IN:
horseback-86, 91, 100, 115
knees— 77, 83, 85a
cross— 16, 57, 67, 72,
representation of cloth (head
cross with three
only- 15 (cf. 139)
seat/throne— 12, 79
stream of water— 68
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Single Main Male Adult, WEARING: on head:
biretta-78, 81, 87, 94, 95, 112
crown (papal beehive)— 2, 69, 85,
crown (royal)— 2, 11.5, 56, 63, 65,
79, 92, 99
crown (of thorns)— 12, 13, 14, 15,
halo of three sets of rays— 16c, 103
halo, triangular— 2
hat, broadbrimmed— 10, 57, 89,
hat, cardinal's— 65
hat, cocked— 114
hat, strange Oriental— 675
helmet of armor— 53, 91
hood of brown— 60, 62.5
miter-65, 82, 104, 112, 116, 117
tonsure-59, 61, 73, 76, 77, 80, 83,
87, 97, 98, 116, 118
Single Main Male Adult, WEARING: as garment:
alb-90, 94, 98, 104, 112, 113,
armor-53, 86, 91, 99
bishop's robes— 58, 104, 117
breeches— 67.5, 89
cassock— see robes.
chasuble-64, 87, 106, 110, 113
cloak/cape— 22, 62.5, 69, 71, 81,
82, 85, 90, 94, 98, 111, 112,
114, 116, 118
coat— 67.5, 89
dalmatic of deacon— 76, 97
hermit's cloak— 83, 84, 93, 105
king's robes— 79
jeweled collar/necklace— 67
loincloth/ // kilt"-11.5, 16, 18, 68,
72, 74, 105
pilgrim's garb— 54, 115a
robes of black— 61, 66, 67, 71, 75,
78, 81, 82, 87, 90.5, 93.5, 95
of black and white— 73
of blue— 59, 65 (with red
trim), 70, 77, 80, 114
of brown— 60
of purple— 12, 13, 14
of red-62, 83, 102, 108
of white-11, 22, 62.5, 69, 116
rope around neck— 11.5, 12, 13, 14
scapular, large, of black— 62.5
soldier's uniform— 57, 86, 96,
surplice— 71, 75, 95
tunic-110.5, 111, 119
wings-2, 52, 53, 54, 55, 118
Single Main Male Adult, WEARING: on feet:
boots-53, 54, 89, 114, 115
laced sandals— 54
nothing- 12, 13, 14, 16, 18, 68,
72, 74, 80, 83, 84, 93, 105
stockings (sometimes without
toes)— 53, 54, 89
Single Main Male Adult, HAVING "as mark 7
anchor on breast— 67.5
dots above and below lips— 113
no beard-59, 64, 75, 79, 94, 97, 98,
sores— 90.5, 110.5
Single Main Male Adult, WITH (in
altar with cross or crucifix— 85a,
angel or angels— 22, 56, 89, 110,
apparition of Christ— 87
apparition of Mary— 67
black man— 109
bodies (of Moors)— 115
church— 65, 85, 96
church door (often looks like
column of the scourging— 11.5,
cross or crucifix— 62, 67, 77, 83, 105,
deer-61, 84, 112
dove-56, 58, 78, 104
globe with cross on it— 68
halo (triangular)— 2
stigmata— 10, 13a, 16, 18, 22, 80
three rays coming from head— 103
white beard— 60
wounds of penance— 83, 105
foreground or background):
lamb- 10, 93, 106
lances/spears — 77
men lying and/or kneeling— 66
passion implements— 99
pattern of squares— 16c
persons bearing palms— 11
pillar- 12, 13
serpent (sometimes winged)— 87,
sheep— 10, 93, 106
shell— 58, 111
skull— 99, 118
snake (sometimes winged)— 87, 91
soldiers— 57, 96
souls in purgatory— 80a
Single Main Male Adult, HOLDING:
balance-scales— 53 candles— 63
bell- 109 chalice-52, 97, 102
book-62.5, 65, 76, 78, 80, 87, 93.5, child-59, 68, 92
97, 108, 112, 116 church (miniature model)-65, 85
SANTOS AND SAINTS
cord of Franciscan habit— 80a
crook, shepherd's staff— 93
cross or crucifix— 14, 63, 70, 75, 80,
81, 85, 93.5, 95, 97, 98, 105, 109,
crozier— 58, 62.5, 69
dead Christ— 1
flowering branch or staff —59, 79,
head (his own, severed or still at-
tached)- 12a 7 71, 90.5
heart— 2, 19, 59
lamb- 10, 93
monstrance— 52, 76, 106, 113
nails of passion— 110.5
Nino-59, 68, 92
nothing, with hand blessing— 2,
hands tied— 12, 13
hands clasped— 110
hands raised— 22
palm-61, 67, 69, 71, 75, 76, 78, 81,
95, 97, 98, 110.5, 111, 112
palm with three "crowns"— 113
pennant— 79, 93
rosary— 73, 78, 93.5
spear-53, 91, 96, 111, 115
staff- 56, 63, 65 (red), 68, 74, 89, 93,
93.5, 112, 116
staff with gourd of water— 54, 115a
sword-53, 100, 115
tablets of law— 103
Single Main Female Figure
Single Main Female Figure, ON:
an angel— 33
a cart— 143
a chair— 26, 27
a cross— 130
the moon-33, 38, 41, 43, 44, 45
a plant or flower— 51
a snake/serpent— 23, 41
Single Main Female Figure, WEARING: on head
crown-22.5, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, 33,
34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 41.5, 42, 43, 44,
45, 47, 50, 51, 121, 129, 138.5
crown of roses— 135, 137
crown of thorns— 135, 136
papal tiara— 33.5
shepherdess's hat and scarf— 37,
veil/mantle: any color— 130
black-48, 124, 128, 132, 143
blue-23, 31, 35, 41, 45, 50
wimple-128, 132, 134
Single Main Female Figure, WEARING: as garment:
cape/cloak-50, 133, 135, 136, 138
gown of black- 127, 137, 143
black and red— 48
black and white— 48, 122, 138
brocade— 33.5, 138.5
brown— 30, 137
red-31, 35, 38, 50, 125
white- 122, 124, 125, 135, 136
with vertical panel showing
seven men's heads— 125.5
hoop skirt— 26
nun's habit— 48, 132, 134, 135, 138,
royal robes— 129
scapular (large)— 30, 33.5
skirt with three flounces— 121
skirt of flame colors— 140
Single Main Female Figure, HAVING "as mark'
flexible arms— 48
hair extremely long— 41.5
is a skeleton— 143
sword or swords in beast— 31, 35
wound in back of neck— 126
wound in forehead— 134
Single Main Female Figure, WITH (in foreground or background):
angel or angels— 23, 28, 34, 40,
angels in Franciscan robes— 22.5
basket of roses— 26, 34
body halo— 33
candles— 45, 122
cave shaped like church bell— 30.5
cross/crucifix— 39, 121, 125
crown of thorns— 39, 48, 122
implements of the passion— 39,
lamb or lambs— 128
lightning, thundercloud— 121
monogram of "MA"— 42
piece of fruit— 50
pliers (pulling teeth)— 120
roses— 42, 135
rotunda of church— 41.5
Saint Dominic— 44
Saint Francis of Assisi— 40
soldier pulling teeth— 120
souls in purgatory— 30
tree with buds— 24
tower— 49, 121
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Single Main Female Figure, HOLDING:
arrow— 49, 143
body of Christ-39, 48
bow and arrow— 143
child-23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33.5, 34,
35.5, 38, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 50, 51,
cloth with face of Christ imprinted
on it— 139
crosier— 127, 138
cross/crucifix— 23, 122, 124, 126,
129, 132, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138
crown of thorns— 48, 135
dove— 23, 41a
flower or flowers— 29, 41, 128
lily— 36, 41a
monstrance— 121, 123
Niho-23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33.5,
34, 35.5, 38, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 50,
nothing-31, 33, 35, 41, 45, 48, 120,
palm-28, 41.5, 42, 121, 128, 131,
pennant on a staff— 122, 127, 138,
plate with eyes— 131
scapular (small)— 30, 35.5
scepter-35.5, 38, 41a, 42, 43, 122,
scourge— 135, 137
skull- 134, 137
soul (being drawn from monster's
spear decorated with
staff-28, 47, 128, 136, 138
Not Complete Person
a dove— 3 (Espiritu Santo)
a cross— 17 (Santa Cruz); with
cloth draped over the
a heart with no sword sticking in
it— 19 (Sagrado Corazon)
a heart with a sword or swords
sticking in it— 31 (Corazon de
a metal reliquary (like a
monstrance) — 145.0
skulls— 141 (Calveras)
two arms, one bare and the other
clothed in blue, each pierced
through the palm, in front of a
cross— 142 (El Escudo de San
skeleton of a woman in a cart— 143
skeleton of a kneeling man
scourging himself— 144.0
CALENDAR OF NEW MEXICAN SAINTS
Included are all that appear twice or more in the sample of 1000 and
that have a designated feast day. The final number in the listing indicates
the frequency of occurrence in the sample. The lunar symbol O marks
the part of the calendar that varies from year to year as does Easter (the
first Sunday after the first full moon of spring). By contrast, feasts of the
solar part of the liturgical calendar occur annually on the same day of
the same month.
Sunday after Epiphany: Sagrada Familia— 13
21 or 22: Ines del Campo— 2
Felipe de Jesus— 3
Huida en Egipto— 2
Margarita de Cortona— 3
15: Longino— 2
19: Jose Patriarca— 59
O Friday before Palm Sunday: N.S. Dolores— 53 (also Septem-
ber 16, solar)
5: Vicente Ferrer— 2
O Good Friday: Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno— 21
Jesus es Cargado con la Cruz— 5
El Divino Rostro y Veronica— 8
Cristo Crucificado— 81
La Santa Cruz— 15 (also 3 May, solar)
O Holy Saturday: El Santo Entierro— 2
O Easter Sunday: Resurreccion— 2
SANTOS AND SAINTS
La Santa Cruz— 15 (also Good Friday, O)
(also September 29) Miguel— 29
Isidro Labrador— 14
Juan Nepomuceno— 30
Rita de Casia— 18
Felipe Neri— 2
Pentecost: Espiritu Santo— 2
Fernando Rey— 4
Trinity Sunday: Santisima Trinidad— 13
Antonio de Padua— 73
Pedro Apostol— 6
N.S. Refugio de Pecadores— 10
Isabel de Portugal— 2
N.S. Carmen— 24
(or 30) Cristobal— 4
(also 25) Cristobal— 4
2: N.S. Angeles-3
7: Cayetano— 8
10: Lorenzo— 5
15: (also September 13) Estanislao Kostka-
16: Roque— 3
30: Rosa de Lima— 2
31: Ramon Nonato— 22
N.S. Soccoro— 2
Gil Athenogenes— 3
(also August 15) Estanislao Kostka— 3
APPENDIX D 1Q7
16: N.S. Dolores— 53 (also Friday before Palm Sunday, O)
29: (and May 8) Miguel-34
30: Geronimo— 13
Angel Guardian— 2
Francisco de As is— 20
Teresa de Avila— 5
16: Gertrudis— 15
Francisco Javier— 5
N.S. Purisima Concepcion— 21
Juan Evangelista— 4
1Q8 SANTOS AND SAINTS
The liturgical calendar used in the universal Roman Catholic Church was
supplemented by two sorts of calendars, one for nations and the other
for religious orders. Thus in eighteenth-century New Mexico, bound at
the back of the Roman Missal (mass book) and the Roman Breviary (book
of divine office) were a supplement for the Spanish Empire and a sup-
plement for the Franciscan Order. In this way, saints of particular Spanish
or Franciscan interest and devotion were venerated at special masses and
in special variants of the priest's daily recitation of the office. Some saints
(like Santiago for Spaniards and Antonio de Padua for Franciscans) ap-
peared in the missals and breviaries for the whole church, but the sup-
plements provided the texts for rituals of greater solemnity than were
performed in other lands or in the churches of other orders. Because they
are equally important in all lands and for all religious orders, the great
lunar-cycle feasts of the universal church do not appear in the sup-
In examining sixteen to twenty books of this sort about ten years ago,
I was able to find definite feast days for eighty- two santero subjects. Since
eleven of these subjects appear in both supplements and are counted
twice, the eighty-two turns into ninety- three. The following pattern
emerged: One third (29 of 93, 31%) occur only in the universal calendar;
another third (34 of 93, 36%) occur in the Spanish-Empire supplement
(and perhaps also in the universal calendar and/or the Franciscan sup-
plement); and a final third (30 of 93, 32%) occur in the Franciscan sup-
plement (and perhaps also in the universal calendar and/or the
Spanish-Empire supplement). 1
1. See Larry Frank, New Kingdom of the Saints (Santa Fe: Red Crane Books,
1992), 16. —The study on which this Addendum is based includes many more
santo subjects that the body of Appendix D does, restricted as the latter is to
subjects appearing twice or oftener in the sample of a thousand.
I created the following chart after reading David Birch and Joseph Veroff ,
Motivation: A Study of Action (Belmont: Brooks-Cole, 1966) and Abraham
Maslow, Motivation and Personality (New York: Harper and Row, 1970),
adding a few particulars to suit it to a peasant culture and devising some
subdivisions to contain specific New Mexican Hispanic concerns. The
number that follows a saint's name designates the number of times his
or her santo occurred in the sample of a thousand.
It is divided into two main sections, the first dealing with individual
needs, the second with social. The three subdivisions of "individual"
deal with sensation, curiosity, and achievement; the three subdivisions
of "social" are affiliation, power, and aggression. Within each of these
six subdivisions there is a further cleavage into negative (fears) and
1.111 vs. hunger: Isidro 14
1.112 vs. earthquake, storms, etc.: Trinidad 13, N S Candelarias
22, Barbara 16
1.113 vs. sickness
general: Nino Atocha 26, Corazon 9, N S Socorro 2, Benito,
Juan de Dios, Rita Casia 18 (perhaps for impossible
special: of throat: Bias
of teeth: Apolonia 1
of eyes: Rafael 30, Lucia
of ears: Policarpio
of skin: Roque 3
plague: N S Manga 1, Roque 3, Rosalia 12
burns: Lorenzo 5
hemorrhages: Veronica 8
200 SANTOS AND SAINTS
1.114 vs. intemperance: N S Purisima Concepcion 21, Luis Gon-
zaga 1, Ines 2, Maria Magdalena 1
1.115 vs. death in state of sin: Jose 59, Pedro 6, Vicente 2,
1.1151 vs. lightning: Geronimo 13, Barbara 16
1.121 sex and fertility: Antonio 73, Felicia
1.1211 help in childbirth: N S Dolores 53, N S Manga 1, Ramon 22
1.122 rain: Juan Bautista 1, Isidro 14, Lorenzo 5
1.1221 irrigation: Juan Nepomuceno 30
1.123 crops, food: Isidro 14, Lorenzo 5, Santiago 14
1.124 animals used for food: Antonio de Padua 73, Francisco de
Asis 20, Juan Bautista 1, Procopio 2, Ines 2
1.125 exercise and relaxation
1.1251 work: Isidro 14, Jose 59
1.1252 play: Cayetano (for gambling) 8, Luis Gonzaga (for dancing) 1
1.127 aesthetic, sense of symmetry
1.211 vs. ignorance (see studies, below)
1.212 vs. boredom (see play, above, and all affiliative, below)
1.213 vs. weakness in the face of the unknown: N S Afligidos, N
S Carmen 24, N S Guadalupe 50, N S Luz 0, N S
Purisima Concepcion 21, Miguel 34, Rafael 30, Ger-
1.221 studies: Tomas 1, Gertrudis 15
1.222 more unitary understanding of cosmos, being comfortable
in nature; enlightenment: Trinidad 13, Padre Dios 3;
1.223 faith: Trinidad 13, Corazon 9, Tomas Apostol, Rosa Lima 2,
Teresa Avila 5
1.311 vs. guilt feelings (see shame and sinfulness, below)
1.312 vs. sinfulness (see shame and sinfulness, below)
1.313 vs. failure in enterprises (see being comfortable in nature,
1.314 vs. violation of ownership by loss or straying
1.3141 of animals: Juan Bautista 1, Pasquale
APPENDIX E 201
1.3142 of things: Antonio 73 (and animals, probably)
1.3143 of land: perhaps Ramon Nonato 22
1.321 ownership, amassing wealth
1.322 self-satisfaction, self-esteem
1.323 value commitment
1.324 hopes and plans for distant future
2.111 vs. shame: Jesus Nazareno 21, Jesus Cargado 5, Crucifijo 81
2.112 vs. sinfulness in self and others: Jesus Nazareno 21, Jesus
Cargado 5, Crucifijo 81, N S Refugio 10, Acacio 16,
Adan y Eva, Geronimo 13, Librada 9
2.113 vs. loneliness: N S Soledad 14
2.114 vs. effects of death in family: N S Dolores 53, N S Rosario
9, N S Soledad 14
2.121 mutuality (including ownership of common lands);
2.122 belonging to tradition; at-home feeling; loving and being
loved and esteemed; caring for and being cared for:
2.123 fulfilment of duties
2.1231 to church
2.1232 to nation or race: N S Guadalupe 53
2.1233 to morada, including humble anonymity: Juan
Nepomuceno 30, Ramon 22, Flagelante Espectral
2.1234 to village
2.1235 to family: Desposorios, Santa Parentela, Sagrada Familia 13,
Francisco Asis 20, Jose 59
2.12351 as child: Estanislao 3, Felipe de Jesus 3, Luis Gonzaga 1,
2.12352 as father: Padre Dios 3, Jose 59
2.12353 as mother: Ana 5, Rita 18
2.12354 in choice of husband: Antonio 73, Nicholas 1, Rita 18,
2.211 vs. dependence on others who are not kind; for poor:
Felipe Neri 2, Lorenzo 5, Margarita 3
2.212 vs. influence by others
202 SANTOS AND SAINTS
2.2121 by witches: Benito, Clemente, Ignacio 11
2.2122 by devils: N S Angeles 3, N S Luz 0, Miguel 34, Rafael 30,
2.221 fulfilment of interpersonal relationships of responsibility
2.2211 by self (see fulfilment of duties, above)
2.2212 by others toward self or kin Rita: 18 (husband to wife)
2.311 vs. opponents: Acacio 16, Longino 2, Santiago 14
2.3111 of welfare of community: Santiago 14
2.3112 of welfare of church: N S Cueva Santa, Gregorio 0, Pedro 6
2.3113 of welfare of family (children): N S Angeles 3, Angel Guar-
2.3114 of welfare of beggars, pilgrims, and other travelers: Huida a
Egipto 2, Nino Atocha 26, Nino Perdido 4, N S Atocha
0, Rafael 30, Angel Guardian 2, Cristobal 4, Ines 2
2.3115 of welfare of captives: N S Merced, Nino Atocha 26, Nino
Perdido 4, N S Atocha 0, Pedro 6
2.312 vs. anxiety
2.313 vs. frustration
2.321 for tolerance of frustration, acceptance: Jesus Nazareno 21,
Jesus Cargado 5, Crucifijo 81, Job
2.322 for safety, security, protection, peace: Trinidad 13, N S
Rosario 9, Domingo 1
This Index does not include material from the Appendices, each of which is ordered
in its chronological, alphabetical, or logical way.
Acacio, San 13, 48, 75, 95
Acoma Pueblo 73
adult Christ 41, 55
A.J. Santero color plate 6
alabados (hymns) 8, 45, 88, 91-93,
Albuquerque 33, 88, 89, 110
altarscreen (reredos) 24-26, 32, 33
Ana, Santa 14, 51
Angeles, Nuestra Senora de los 52
Antonio de Padua, San 110, 112
Apolonia, Santa 35, 52
Applegate, Frank 127, 135, color
Aragon, Jose (santero) 29, 30, 32,
60 ill., color plate 1
Aragon, Luis (santero) 49 ill., 54 ill.
Aragon, Rafael (Jose Rafael,
santero) cover ill., 22 ill., 29, 32,
67 ill., 112 ill., color plate 2,
color plate 3
Aristotelianism 86, 93
arma Christi (weapons of Christ,
implements of the passion) 155
Atocha, Santo Nino de cover ill.,
31 ill., 33, 43, 62, 67 ill., 70-71,
75, 109, 140
Austin, Mary 113, color plate 8
Barbara, Santa 52
Barela, Patrocinio 127
baroque 1, 6, 9, 20, 21, 25, 27-29, 35
Barreiro, Antonio 20
Bellah, Robert 53
Bernard of Clairvaux, Saint 57
Bias, San 52
Boyd, E. 11, 15, 27, 35, 127
Briggs, Charles L. 135
Brotherhood, penitential 7, 42-45,
48, 55, 91-97, 109, 111, 113
Brown, Lorin W. 8, 14
bulto (statue) 2, 4, 11, 12, 21, 26,
30, 32, 33, 39, 53, 83, 85, 86, 89,
91, 93, 95, 114
Bustamante, Fray Francisco de 65
Byzantine 2, 36
Candelarias, Nuestra Senora de las
Carmen, Nuestra Senora del 45, 52
Carrillo, Charles 14
Castrense Chapel 24, 25
Cayetano, San 110
Chimayo (town) 27; see also
Santuario de Chimayo
Christopher, Saint color plate 8
Clavigero, Francisco Javier 69
Clavijo, Battle of 73
Cofradfa de Nuestro Padre Jesus
Nazareno 91; see also
Colorado 33, 75, 103
Comanche Indians 61
Corpus Christi 93
Cortes, Hernando 61
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Cottrell, Fred 51
Cristobal, San color plate 8
Crucifijo 10, 21, 26, 30, 32, 42, 46,
85, 90 ill., 95, color plate 7
Cubism 17, 19, 36
Cupid 9, 66
Currier and Ives 30
cycle of the shepherds 21
De Vargas, Diego 68
death cart 5 ill., 15, 48, 109
Dickey, Roland L. 14
Dolores, Nuestra Senora de los 44,
66, 89, color plate 4
Domfnguez, Fray Francisco
Doniphan, General Alexander W.
Durango, Mexico 106
Eliade, Mircea 13, 86
Espinosa, Gilberto vii, 14
Espinosa, Jose Edmundo vii
Esqufpulas, Nuestro Senor de
(crucifix) 10 ill., 12, 21
Estanislao, San 52
Familia, Sagrada 22 ill.
fears see motivation
Felipe de Jesus, San 48
Felipe Neri, San 33
Fernando, San 73
Flora, Santa 56
Franciscan 18, 21, 23, 65, 87, 106,
Francisco de Asfs, San 48, 65, 113
Francisco Solano, San 24
Frank, Larry 28
Fresquis, Pedro (santero) 10 ill.,
11-12, 28, 29, 35, 38, 46, 102 ill.
Gabriel Arcangel, San 46, 47
Gallegos, Celso (santero) 12, 127,
Garcia, Fray Andres (santero) 25
George, Saint 54 ill.
Geronimo, San 2, 48, 52
Gertrudis, Santa 52, 110, 113
gesso-relief 25, 26, 27, 38
Gonzales, Jose de Gracia (santero)
33, color plate 7
Gonzalez, Nancie 69
great tradition 104-06, 110
Gregg, Josiah 88, 89
Guadalupe, Nuestra Senora de 5
ill., 13, 29, 44, 46, 52, 60 ill.,
62-66, 68, 69, 75, color plate 5,
color plate 6
Herrera, Jose Ines (santero) 30, 93
Herrera, Miguel (santero) 32
Hidalgo y Costilla, Padre Miguel 69
hide paintings 23-25
Holy Family 22 ill.
hopes and fears see motivation
Hougland, Willard 4, 14
the-Left) 62, 66
hymns (alabados) 8, 45, 88, 91-93,
icon 2-4, 9, 14, 36, 69, 87
Ignacio de Loyola, San 24, 47, 52,
109, color plate 2
imitation (and related words) 1-2,
4, 11-13, 18-19, 25, 27, 38, 44,
81-83, 86, 89, 98
Indians 25, 36, 43, 53, 56, 61-62, 66,
68-73, 75, 105, 111
Ines, Santa 8, 50-52, 56
International Folk Art Museum of
the Museum of New Mexico 35
Isidro, San 40 ill., 49 ill., 50
James, Saint (Santiago) x ill., 4, 13,
24, 35, 51, 62, 71, 73, 74 ill., 75
Jerome, Saint 2, 48, 52
Jesuits 24, 33, 52, 69, 93
Jesus Nazareno 32, 42, 84 ill.,
85-86, 89, 91, 93, 95
Jorge, San 54 ill.
Juan Bautista, San 110, 50
Juan Diego 63, 64
Juan Evangelista, San 89
Juan Nepomuceno, San 24, 48, 111
Jung, Carl 44
Kiev, Ari 53, 109
Ku Klux Klan 69
Lamy, Jean Baptiste, Archbishop
Lange, Yvonne 38, 70
Leatham, Miguel 76
Leonard, Irving 72
Leyba, Eli 109
Librada, Santa 13, 95, 48
Longino, San 48, 75
Lopez, Jose Dolores 127, 135
Lopez, Nasario Guadalupe
(santero) 5 ill.
Lorenzo, San 50
Lucia, Santa 52
Luis Gonzaga, San 52, 110
Luz, Nuestra Senora de la 24, 52
Martinez, Padre Antonio Jose 24,
Marx, Karl 105
Mata, Santiago 127
McLuhan, Marshall 19
McWilliams, Carey 18
Mead, Margaret 109
medieval, middle ages 1, 13, 17-21,
23, 35, 57, 71, 93, 106, 108, 111
Miera y Pacheco, Bernardo
(santero) 25, 26, 96
Miguel Arcangel, San 8, 30, 33, 34,
46, 52, 69, 76, 93
Mills, George 14, 55, 109, 114
Molleno, Antonio (santero) 16 ill.,
27, 28, 107 ill., color plate 4, col-
or plate 5
Moors 35, 48, 61, 62, 65, 66, 70-72
Mora 30, 71
motivation (needs; hopes and
fears) 7, 41-42, 50, 52, 55-56, 62,
70, 71, 83, 103, 108, 111, 113-14
Navajo Indians 68
needs see motivation
Neumann, Erich 44
Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno,
Cofradia de 42, 55, 91 (for san-
tos, see Jesus Nazareno)
Ortega, Jose Benito (santero) 30,
32, 33, 40 ill., 90 ill., 94 ill.
Ortiz, Alfonso 71
panel painting (retablo) 2, 4, 11,
12, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, 46, 83, 85
Pascual, San 51
Pastora, La Divina (Nuestra Senora
Pearce, T.M. 68
peasants 20, 50-51, 56, 103-06, 108
Pedro, San 48, 75
Pelagian 13, 83, 95
Perdido, El Nino 33, 43, 75
Philip of Jesus, Saint 48
Philip Neri, Saint 33
Picasso, Pablo 17
Pino, Pedro Bautista 69, 72, 73
Pizarro, Francisco 61
Plumb, J.H. 48
popular religion 115
Praga, Santo Nino de 43
preternatural 50, 55, 56
Pueblo Indians 17, 20, 21, 23, 25,
26, 28, 36, 50, 61, 62, 66, 68,
Quill Pen Santero 17, 28
Ramon Nonato, San 32, 48, 111,
color plate 1
SANTOS AND SAINTS
Recopilacion de las leyes de las In-
Redfield, Robert 106
Refugio, Nuestra Senora del 44
Remedios, Nuestra Senora de los
renaissance 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 17-21, 23,
25, 29, 34-36, 83, 106, 108, 110
reredos (altarscreen) 24-26, 32, 33
Resurrection color plate 3
retablo (panel painting) 2, 4, 11,
12, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, 46, 83, 85
Rita, Santa 48, 52, 109, 113
romantic revival santos 125-28
romanticism 4, 48, 108, 115
Romero, Francisco Xavier (santero)
Roque, San 52
Rosalia, Santa 16 ill., 48
Rosario, Nuestra Senora del 44
Sacred Heart 57
Sagrada Familia 22 ill.
Sagrado Corazon 57
Saint Louis, Missouri 33
Salpointe, Jean Baptiste,
San Felipe Neri Church 33
San Juan de los Lagos, Nuestra
Senora de 14
San Luis Valley, Colorado 12, 15, 75
Santa Fe (city) 13, 19, 20, 24, 69, 88,
Santa Fe Trail 24, 30, 53
Santiago x ill., 4, 13, 24, 35, 51, 62,
71, 73, 74 ill., 75
Santo Entierro 85, 89, 91, 93, 95
Santo Nino Santero 29, 31 ill., 33
Santuario de Chimayo 11, 12, 21,
Sebastiana, Doha (death cart) 5 ill.,
15, 48, 109
Segesser Hidepaintings 23
Shepherdess, The Divine (Our
Lady as Shepherdess) 51
Simon of Cyrene 88
Socorro, Nuestra Senora del 44, 69,
Soledad, Nuestra Senora de la 44,
Stations of the Cross (Way of the
Cross) 48, 85, 87, 92
statue (bulto) 2, 4, 11, 12, 21, 26,
30, 32, 33, 39, 53, 83, 85, 86, 89,
91, 93, 95, 114
Stoller, Marianne 36-37
supernatural 6, 43, 55, 56
Symeon of Thessalonika 3, 4, 14
Tewa Pueblos 71
Texas 18, 53, 69, 109
Tomas, Santo 110
tradition, traditional 1-4, 6, 9, 11,
12-13, 17-18, 21, 25-26, 27, 29-30,
33, 35-36, 51, 53, 81-82, 87, 95-96,
Trinidad, Colorado 33
Trinity, Holy 41, 136-37
Triple Rostro of Santa Veronica 102
ill., 107 ill.
validation, validity 82
Valvanera, Nuestra Senora de 24
Van der Leeuw, Gerardus 3, 14
vecinos 6, 48, 68
Velasquez, Ramon (santero) 32
velorio (wake) 8
Veronica, Santa 48, 102 ill.
village 12, 14, 23, 42, 50, 89, 93, 95,
96, 104-06, 108, 111, 113
Villagra, Gaspar Perez de 73
Villasur, Pedro de 23
Wallrich, William 15
Way of the Cross (Stations of the
Cross) 48, 85, 87, 92
Weigle, Marta 14, 113
Wilde, Oscar 9, 12, 15
Wolf, Eric 108
Wroth, William 2, 4, 9, 13, 21, 93
Xerez, Battle of 73
xoanon 14, 32
Zubirfa, Jose Antonio de, Bishop
93, 111, 113
"I have attempted in this book to
bring to bear upon the New
Mexican Spanish religious folk art
of the last century— the santos—
the kind of analysis by formal
criticism, theology, sociology, and
psychology which will enable
these pictures and statues of saints
to illuminate in their special
fashion the life of the people for
whom and by whom they were
made." Thus Father Steele intro-
duced the 1974 edition of his
book. This new, completely rewritten edition provides greater
detail and newly available information to illustrate the santero's
art and to describe the traditional roles of santos in both
religious and secular life. Valuable appendixes include lists of
saints represented by New Mexican santeros, a calendar of
saints' days, a guide to the identification of santos, and lists of
nineteenth- and twentieth-century santeros.
Santos and Saints has served for two decades as the best available
guide to the religious folk art of New Mexico. In its new edition,
it has become even more valuable to scholars and general
"This is a book that should be a part of anyone's Southwest
collection." _ k r . _ n
—The Santa Fe Reporter
Ancient City Vvess
P.O. Box 5401
Santa Fe. New Mexico 87502